Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. - The Rat Pack Live at the Sands (2001)


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By Derrick Lord

This is an act the Rat Pack—Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr.—had down to a T and it really shows. A fun slice of musical history. Completely un-PC which is a much welcome change of pace. It was recorded in 1963. Funny how people seemed to have more of a sense of humor about things at that sensitive time than they do now.

I won't lie to you. It's probably not a CD you will play very often, but when you are in a crappy mood or having a party, this baby will do just fine. No substitute for the straight stuff as Martin would probably say, but he tells it like it is right off the bat: If you wanna hear him sing “serious" as he puts it ... buy a (slurred) “albium."

Besides, whoever says the singing isn't up to snuff on The Rat Pack Live at the Sands must have never been to a concert or bought a live album. The only complaint I can think of is many of the songs are in medley form. No problem there with me. I laughed at all of the antics—especially from Dean-O. The quality of the recording is great to be at the same advanced age as me.

Highlights? For me you get a great taste of an underrated voice when Martin does “June in January"> and a “Volare/On An Evening in Roma" medley. It's easy to forget the singer and remember the drunk schtick, but he had the goods.

Sinatra is Sinatra. He really caught my attention on “Call Me Irresponsible." It's great fun hearing him goof around with his two friends and maybe a lot different than some people think of him. He's actually pretty funny. He does play it straighter than Sammy or Dean as far as the singing. Tell you the truth, his highlight for me was “Luck Be A Lady." It's one of his few songs that I have never cared much for, but to hear him do it live in Vegas in this setting is great. He really gets it swinging.

My only real complaint about the disk? Not enough Sammy. He's another guy that it is easy to underestimate. Many may have seen him on all of the TV shows that he was doing later on and forget what a great entertainer he really was. When he does “The Lady Is A Tramp," it cooks; in fact, it may be the best cut from the album.

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