Four late 60s gems from Perry Como – all records that really have him pushing beyond his pop style of the 50s! First up is Lightly Latin – one of the most sublime albums we've ever heard from Perry Como – a set that definitely takes its Latin lightly, and instead really goes for the best sort of mellow side of the Como sound! There's definitely a few bossa touches in the mix – a bit of acoustic guitar or light percussion – but they're added in very sparely, and couched with a beautifully subtle wall of sound from arranger Nick Perito, who works here with a lot more understatement than on some other records. Como's vocals are very far from pop – and the album brings out his maturing style wonderfully with a spacious, soft-toned style of production. Titles include "Dindi", "Once I Loved", "Stay With Me", "How Insensitive", "The Shadow Of Your Smile", "Baia", and "Manha De Carnaval". Next is Perry Como In Italy – one of the most haunting albums we've ever heard from Perry Como – a session recorded in Italy during the mid 60s – featuring arrangements by Nick Perito, and backing vocals by the Alessandro Alessandro
ni Singers! The tunes include a fair bit of older Italian numbers – some sung in the language of their origin, some in English translations that we've come to know on this side of the Atlantic – and Como takes them all with a sad-tinged style that makes the album one of his moodiest ever – a record that oozes melancholy with every song, and which has a late nite, heartbreaking appeal that goes beyond even the understanding of language. The set's a great one to convey the popularity of Italian work on the American market in the 60s – and Como carries off the session even better than some of the more likely singers on the scene during the period. Titles include "Souvenir D'Italie", "Forget Domani", "Anema E Core", "One Day Is Like Another", "Arrivederci Roma", "Oh Marie", and "E Lei". Look To Your Heart is the kind of record that moves so far beyond familiar pop vocalizations, it's almost like Perry's in a universe all by himself! The words seem to just be sneaking out of the singer's voice – these mutterings that are almost to himself, which makes his readings of the tunes feel even more personal than you might expect – even amidst larger backings from Nick Perito – like Como is off to the side of the room, ruminating on love lost and life lived! That quality comes through tremendously on the eerie "Father Of Girls" – a tune that's worth the price of admission alone – and other titles include "Try To Remember", "Look To Your Heart", "In These Crazy Times", "Sunrise Sunset", and "When You're In Love". Seattle is a record that has Perry Como taking on a bit of a country tinge at times – working with Chet Atkins production that almost seems as if the singer is trying to match the Dean Martin spirit of the late 60s, right down to phrasing that feels a bit like ol Dino himself! A few other cuts have more familiar Como modes, with backings by Nick Perito – and titles include the lively title cut "Seattle", plus "Happiness Comes Happiness Goes", "Together Forever", "Sunshine Wine", "Deep In Your Heart", "Hearts Will Be Hearts", "Turnaround", and "Beady Eyed Buzzard".