Tony Bennett: Nancy (With the Laughing Face)
Nancy (With the Laughing Face)
Tony Bennett (vocals)
Perfectly Frank (Columbia 52965)
Paul Langosch (bass), Joe La Barbera (drums).
Composed by Jimmy Van Heusen & Phil Silvers.
Recorded: New York City and Los Angeles, 1992
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
When I was a young man I drove across the country and ended up in San Francisco. Just as I parked and started walking around, a buzzing crowd began to assemble. It turned out that my buddy and I had arrived at the very moment they were bringing the famed cable cars back into service. We were smack-dab in the middle of the dedication ceremony. The next thing I knew, Tony Bennett was on a makeshift stage about 75 feet away from us. Then, with the damn Golden Gate Bridge itself as a backdrop, the great crooner sang "I Left My Heart in San Francisco"! That was one surreal moment. Years later, I would have another opportunity to appreciate Bennett's greatness, sitting ten feet away from him and the Ralph Sharon Trio as they performed at a business event. These occasions hold a very special place in my memory, and based upon them I approach Bennett's recordings with the knowledge that, like any great artist, he is even better than you think he is.
Bennett worshipped Frank Sinatra. When he recorded Perfectly Frank, Sinatra was perfectly alive. The album is more thank-you note to his friend than homage. With one or two exceptions, Bennett covers some of Sinatra's lesser-known tunes. Without exception, he sings them like Tony Bennett. This is the highest compliment to Sinatra and the composers who helped make him a legend.
The touching ballad "Nancy (With the Laughing Face)" was written in 1944 by Jimmy Van Heusen and comedian Phil Silvers for the fourth birthday of Sinatra's daughter Nancy. Bennett could not have chosen a more meaningful and personal song from Sinatra's songbook. Tony's version is every bit as touching as the original. His dulcet voice cracks at times, but they are the right times. If this wasn't Sinatra's song about his daughter, it would belong to Tony Bennett.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky