Performing since the late '40s, singer Johnny Holiday recorded in the 1950s, received good reviews, but never sold enough records to really make it. As a result, he found himself working a number of straight jobs and recording infrequently. In 1998, however, Holiday was given another chance to display his warm, mellow vocals on Contemporary under producer Terry Gibbs. Johnny Holiday Sings includes the 13 tracks from this session along with the eight from his initial foray into jazz, also titled Johnny Holiday Sings. Since the 1998 tracks were recorded when Holiday was 79, one can't help but be impressed that the singer, too long out of the limelight, has maintained all of his vocal nuances. Most of the material consists of classics, and there are sprightly takes on "Give the World a Little Whistle" and "When Your Lover Has Gone Away," and nicely handled versions of "Stardust" and "It's a Blue World." The small-band arrangements offer a light, sparkling touch that blends especially well with Holiday's tone and delivery. Although his vocals are a bit deeper on the early tracks from 1954, the songs, similar in style and accompaniment, work surprisingly well with the material recorded 44 years later. Holiday will inevitably be compared to Mel Tormé, but this doesn't distract from his own distinct qualities. Johnny Holiday Sings finally offers a chance to reintroduce oneself to a wonderful jazz voice from the 1950s. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., All Music Guide
with Tom Ranier, Ron Eschete, Monty Budwig, Joe LaBarbera, Bob Summers, Carl Saunders, Lou Levy, Frank Capp, Bud Shank, Barney Kessel, Harry Babasin, and Shelly Manne
Recorded in 1954 & June 10-11, 1998.