Two Of A Kind (CD expanded reissue)

Bobby Darin & Johnny Mercer

Omnivore, 2017

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Bobby Darin (1936-1973) packed a lot into his 37 years of life. He was a teen idol who produced such hits as “Splish Splash” and “Queen Of The Hop” that led to his 1990 induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.  He was an actor who won a Golden Globe Award and he actually married actress Sandra Dee of my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Grease song fame.

At the height of his commercial appeal, Darin changed musical directions. He always wanted to be a Sinatra-type singer and so he recorded “Mack The Knife” from Three Penny Opera. It became one of the most popular singles in music history, topping the Billboard Pop Chart for nine weeks.

In 1961, he joined with orchestra leader/arranger Billy May and recorded the album Two Of A Kind. That album has now been reissued with seven bonus songs.

I find it interesting that this album was picked for reissue. While it is representative of the second part of his career, it just disappears into his catalogue of releases. It is a smooth and pleasant album, but probably not among his best works.

Darin was touring with Johnny Mercer at the time, and the material reflects that relationship. It is an album of standards, highlighted by two Darin/Mercer compositions and four more Mercer songs.

“Ace In The Hole” is an old jazz song from 1909. Darin gives it a more Big Band/pop feel in a swinging version. The lightweight “Who Takes Care Of The Caretakers Daughter” is a pun-filled journey. On the other hand, he gets cute with “My Cutey’s Due At Two-To-Two.” It is representative of a number of songs that appeared dated over 50 years ago and today fall into the quaint category.

The seven bonus songs are more of the same, except for an interesting take on the Dave Dreyer/Ruby Herman song “Cecelia.”

This reissue of Two Of A Kind will no doubt please Bobby Darin fans, but if you want an introduction to Darin at his best, there are a number of Greatest Hits albums available.

Rating: C

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