A quartet of albums from Johnny Mathis – served up here in a special 2CD set! Up Up & Away is Mathis' first set back at Columbia after a brief hiatus – a record that shows a newly mature style that's wonderfully suited for Johnny's amazing voice! Mathis tones are every bit as perfect as before – but he's also got a maturing approach to the lyrics that's really nice – maybe a bit more pause, or thoughtfulness, which only increases the sense of feeling in the tunes. Of course, the great charts by Glenn Osser also help too – lush, but never sleepy
, and showing their own sort of maturation too. Titles include "Misty Roses", "Drifting", "When I Look In Your Eyes", "I Thought Of You Last Night
", "Far Above Cayuga's Waters", and "Where Are The Words". Love Is Blue is a late 60s set that furthers the maturing Mathis modes of his return to Columbia Records – a set that's filled with great adult pop numbers from the time, recast by Johnny Mathis in his trademark vocal mode! There's a fair bit of Bacharach in the mix – which makes for a meeting of two pop vocal generations in one sweet album – and the rest of the tunes are pretty hip too, with work by Henry Mancini, Jimmy Webb, and others. Strings figure into most of the arrangements – but never in a sleepy
way – and titles include "Walk On By", "Venus", "Love Is Blue", "Never My Love", "Moon River", "I Say A Little Prayer", "The Look Of Love", and "Don't Go Breakin My Heart". Those Were The Days is a title tune sung famously by Mathis as a single – but even better are the rest of the tracks on the set – a cool batch of 60s numbers that really show Johnny stretching out comfortably with some new material, but never in ways that mess with his amazing vocal approach at all! Backings often have a gentle dip underneath the strings – letting Mathis pick up some slight groovy rhythms at points, on titles that include "Light My Fire", "59th Street Bridge Song", "This Guy's In Love With You", "You Make Me Think About You", "The World I Used To Know", and "Turn Around Look At Me". Last up is Sings The Music Of Bert Kaempfert – a special record devoted to the songs of German maestro Bert, best known as an instrumental star on record, but also a key songwriter for many classics of the 60s. Johnny's vocals are a great fit for the gentle flow and slow-stepping rhythms of the Kaempfert tunes – and titles include "Strangers In The Night
", "Danke Schon", "Wonderland By Night
", "Spanish Eyes", "Lady", "LOVE", and "Remember When".