Bobby Darin

Gift guide

Reissues

Bobby Darin

Aces Back to Back! (Hyena)

'Tis the season for Bobby Darin. One of several products concurrent with Kevin Spacey's new biopic of the crooner, Aces Back to Back isn't the place for Darin neophytes to start. That said, this piecemeal CD/DVD is a fascinating and sometimes dazzling souvenir of Darin's final years. The majority of Aces is comprised of performances from Darin's NBC variety show, which premiered in 1972 as a summer replacement for The Dean Martin Show. Despite the antiseptic television mix of these recordings, Darin and his band squeeze more energy than you'd imagine out of contemporary hits like Frankie Valli's "Can't Take My Eyes Off You," Neil Diamond's "Song Sung Blue," and even Gilbert O'Sullivan's bathetic "Alone Again (Naturally)." Petula Clark also drops by for a duet of "All I Have to Do Is Dream." It's a testament to Darin's vocal versatility that none of these gaudy, showroom-styled covers fall flat. Darin's own classic "Beyond the Sea" gets the full-on ham treatment here, diverging into a silly but fun medley at the end. Different versions of "If I Were a Carpenter" and the antiwar "Sing a Song of Freedom" are culled from a deleted 1969 live recording. The latter represented a somewhat bold assertion for Darin, who relied on well-starched high-rollers – not left-leaning youth – to pay his bills. The lazy country grooves of "Jive" and "Long Time Movin'" offer a rare and compelling glimpse at Darin's so-called "lost" years, while the demo version of "Dream Lover" recasts the hit in a more heartfelt, vulnerable light. The accompanying DVD features variety show footage along with raw film from an unfinished documentary about Darin's 1966 return to the stage after a three-year sabbatical. Sure, it's ego-laden schmaltz, but in the hands of an expert with more than enough weapons to back it up, you won't mind a bit.

***  

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Warm Sugar
Warm Sugar (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, March 22, 2019

Texas Platters
Harlem
Oh Boy (Record Review)

Elise Barbin, March 22, 2019

More by Greg Beets
Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
80 local picks from Molly Burch to Brownout

Dec. 28, 2018

Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
80 local picks from Molly Burch to Brownout

Dec. 28, 2018

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle