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TIT

Title - 'The Very Best Of The Rat Pack' (Rhino Records)
Artist - The Rat Pack

Now, to claim that this is a 'new collection of chart-topping smashes' is one thing, but to state the underlying truth that it is also just another grouping together of Rat Pack hits for Valentine's Day is, well, truer, sorry.

I mean, don't get me wrong, for 18 of the best Rat Pack songs - from the greats such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. - is something that any fan of music can surely listen to with a smile, a gentle sway of the head, a swagger to the hips, but is there really a need for another Hits collection; that is the bigger question.

Well, even if there isn't (and trust me, there isn't!), this new CD features 18 studio hits from their golden Vegas period, including such known heatseekers as 'Come Fly With Me,' 'Ain't That A Kick In The Head,' 'Luck Be A Lady,' 'Everybody Loves Somebody,' and a whole bunch more.

That said, it also includes (as the one and only musical enticement to those who already have these songs a million times over) a previously unreleased Sinatra recording of 'I'm Gonna Live Until I Die.' And, new liner notes by noted Sinatra author Bill Zehme.

As for the actual music, well, Sinatra's tracks are selected from his early Reprise years, and include 'Ring-A-Ding Ding' and the brash 'Luck Be a Lady.' Whereas Martin's tracks, borrowed from both the Capitol and Reprise libraries, include signature hits 'Ain't That a Kick in the Head,' 'Volare,' 'You're Nobody `Til Somebody Loves You' and 'Everybody Loves Somebody.'

However, it's Davis' solo tracks that show off his brilliant theatricality as he caresses and belts Bye Bye Birdie's 'A Lot of Livin' to Do,' and his roots in blues and jazz come out for the Ocean's Eleven showcase 'Eee-O Eleven' - not to mention a reprise of his own Broadway success with Mr. Lucky's 'Too Close for Comfort.'

Reviewed by Russell A. Trunk

www.sinatra.com

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