Doubtless Sammy Davis, Jr.’s least-known Decca album, All The Way … And Then Some! is Sammy’s only Decca title that has never received a release on CD – not even by a cut-price European outfit with crappy vinyl transfers! Featuring songs recorded over six different sessions across 15 months, and with arrangements by five different arrangers, the end result is a mishmash of tone and style.
“All The Way” kicks off the album, with Sammy starting with his Sinatra impression (“Good night Nelson, and sleep warm!”) and then musically horsing around a bit for the balance of the song. The remainder of the disc sees a mix of belted Broadway showstoppers, overwrought string-supported ballads, and hardened swing numbers.
The overall effect could be likened to attending Sammy’s nightclub act, and that is exactly the context Ken Grevatt provides in the LP’s liner notes: “Picture yourself in the smart atmosphere of a fine supper club. House lights down, spotlights up. Sammy Davis steps on the floor – as you put the needle in the groove.”
In addition to Sammy’s regular arrangers Morty Stevens and Jack Pleis, three new arrangers (Dick Stabile, Russell Garcia and Sonny Burke) provided two contributions each.
Saxophonist and bandleader Dick Stabile had been Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis’s musical director until 1956, and had worked with Dean on his recent Capitol albums. Sammy had worked with him since the early 50s when he was the bandleader at Ciro’s, and would work with him again when Stabile fronted the house band at the Cocoanut Grove of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles in the early 60s.
Virtuoso arranger Russell Garcia had recently arranged albums for each of Julie London and Anita O’Day, as well as two Porgy and Bess duet albums, for Mel Tormé and Frances Faye, and for Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. An in-demand talent, here he provides two of the best toe-tapping charts on the record.
Sonny Burke was an active arranger, conductor and A&R man at Decca, although this was his only collaboration with Sammy at Decca (two recordings from his session with Sammy remain unissued in a vault somewhere: “My Gypsy Heart” and “That Old Feeling”). Both Sammy and Burke moved to Frank Sinatra’s Reprise Records in 1960 and would work together again there.
|A1||5/5/1958||All The Way||2:59|
|A2||14/2/1958||Look To Your Heart||3:24|
|A4||20/2/1957||They Can’t Take That Away From Me||2:03|
|A5||25/2/1958||All The Things You Are||3:03|
|A6||25/2/1958||In The Still Of The Night||3:25|
|B1||25/2/1958||On A Slow Boat To China||2:40|
|B2||25/2/1958||We’ll Meet Again||2:50|
|B3||14/2/1958||When I Fall In Love||3:29|
|B4||26/2/1958||Stay As Sweet As You Are||3:53|
|B5||26/2/1958||Night And Day||2:28|
|B6||6/9/1957||I Concentrate On You||2:48|
TOP TWO TRACKS
Night And Day: A staple of Sammy Davis, Jr.’s live act in years to come would be a medley with just bongo accompaniment. We get a precursor to this concept here as Sammy is backed by only bongos, drums, and bass. A cool, exotic sound is created which nicely sets Sammy’s interpretation of this Cole Porter classic apart from the crowd.
On A Slow Boat To China: Sammy has fun with this Russell Garcia arrangement, which swings … all the way to China.
All The Things You Are: Written by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II for the musical Very Warm for May, this song is treated seriously by Sammy, who provides a suitably big finish. 15 years later Sammy would re-record the tune for MGM Records, with Nelson Riddle arranging.
We’ll Meet Again: A nice sax solo features in Dick Stabile’s arrangement, which also sees this weird non-sequitur closing: “I know we’ll meet again, some sunny day … ’cause I ain’t gonna change”. Perhaps Sammy had his mind on his upcoming recording of pop tune “I Ain’t Gonna Change”?
- This LP has never been given an official re-issue on CD.
- Two unlicensed vinyl transfers are available, one on some streaming platforms, and another for download in Europe.
- While most selections have found their way onto compilation CDs (either official or of dubious legitimacy), two cuts have never been subsequently released on CD: “All The Things You Are” and “Stay As Sweet As You Are”.