Open Fire, Two Guitars Johnny Mathis
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- 1Open Fire03:52
- 2Bye Bye Blackbird04:07
- 3In The Still Of The Night02:35
- 4Embraceable You03:28
- 5I'll Be Seeing You04:26
- 7When I Fall In Love04:31
- 8I Concentrate On You03:16
- 9Please Be Kind03:24
- 10You'll Never Know04:07
- 11I'm Just A Boy In Love02:44
- 12My Funny Valentine03:37
Info for Open Fire, Two Guitars
Open Fire, Two Guitars is the eighth album released by legendary singer Johnny Mathis. Of his recordings, it is his seventh original studio album. In a major departure from all his previous albums, Mathis sings with the backing of two guitars played by Al Caiola and Tony Mottola plus an upright bass (Frank Carroll on nine of the tracks, Milt Hinton the rest) for rhythmic support. This allows the purity, sensitivity and sheer beauty of the Mathis voice to shine through.
„The open fire of the title is a warm hearth, not an invitation to gunplay. On this 1959 album, Johnny Mathis creates an atmosphere of fireside intimacy by dispensing with his usual orchestral accompaniment so that the purity of his voice entices the listener's full attention. Al Caiola and Tony Mattola play the two guitars that supplement Mathis' crooning, with an upright bass providing the album's only other instrument. Producer Mitch Miller is often associated with gimmicky or novelty productions, but his work on Open Fire, Two Guitars is perfectly understated, emphasizing the gentle caress of Mathis' voice over the relaxed counterpoint of the two guitars. The songs give prominence to the pop standards of Rodgers & Hart, Cole Porter, and the Gershwins, but the title track, 'Open Fire,' is a new composition by Leiber & Stoller. The album's effect seems nearly a cappella at times, but 'In the Still of the Night' finds Mathis intoning the lyrics over gently rhythmic guitar figures that educe new harmonic complexities from a well-known song. The enduring popularity of Open Fire, Two Guitars is attributable in part to its hypnotic aura of closeness and confidentiality, but also to the simple instrumentation that appeals to many rock-era listeners' preference for guitars over orchestral arrangements.“ (Greg Adams, AMG)
'...A minimal backing of two acoustic guitars and bass provide a warm, intimate setting for Mathis' wistfully tremulous singing style and the extraordinary range, depth and delicacy of his delivery. The selections of lilting ballads from Leiber & Stoller, George & Ira Gershwin and Cole Porter is similarly faultless.' (Q-Magazine)
Johnny Mathis, guitar, vocals
Al Caiola, guitar
Tony Mottola, guitar
Frank Carroll, bass
Milt Hinton, bass
Recorded January 1959
Engineered by Cliff Morris, Robert Waller, Harold Chapman
Produced by Mitch Miller
Born September 30, 1935 in Gilmer Texas, Johnny Mathis grew up learning songs and dance routines from his father, Clem Mathis, a vaudeville veteran. Moving with his family to San Francisco, Johnny began vocal training at 13, performing work around the teacher's house in exchange for lessons, and got his first band gig singing in a band formed by keyboardist Merl Saunders.
A star high jumper, hurdler and basketball player in high school, Mathis was on-track for the Olympic tryouts when, in September 1955, Columbia Records A&R executive and jazz producer George Avakian flew in to hear Johnny sing during his weekend gig at San Francisco's 440 Club. Mathis's performance that night prompted Avakian to fire off the now-mythic telegram to Columbia Records in New York: "Have found phenomenal 19-year-old boy who could go all the way. Send blank contracts."
The longest-running artist on Columbia Records, who released his debut, Johnny Mathis: A New Sound In Popular Song, in 1956, Johnny Mathis is one of the last, one of the most popular, and ultimately one of the most enduring traditional male vocalists to emerge before rock arrived to dominate the pop charts, Johnny Mathis has recorded more than 110 albums and sold millions and millions of records worldwide since the release of his debut. He has 17 million RIAA certified album and singles sales in the US alone.
A sublime vocalist whose approach to pop music transcends passing fads and trends, Johnny Mathis has performed songs in an incredible variety of styles and categories -- from music composed for stage and film to golden era jazz standards, contemporary pop hits, and holiday music both sacred and secular -- assuring his reputation as one of the most enduring traditional pop vocalists in music history.
Perhaps best-known for his landmark singles (three of his recordings--"Chances Are," "It's Not For Me To Say," and "Misty"--have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame) Mathis was one of the very first musical artists to embrace the album concept and record fully-realized thematically and sonically coherent collections of songs. His 1958 release, Johnny's Greatest Hits inaugurated the ongoing "greatest hits" anthology phenomenon becoming one of the most popular albums of all time after spending an unprecedented 490 continuous weeks (almost ten years) on the BILLBOARD Top Albums Chart. Johnny Mathis was given the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 2003.
His latest album to be nominated for a Grammy Award is the 2010 release “Let It Be Me – Mathis In Nashville”. For his first full album inspired by the world of country music, Mathis, whose knowledge and love of music crosses all genres, handpicked the songs for Let It Be Me: Mathis In Nashville, songs that moved him personally and came alive under the Mathis touch.
Johnny and Fred Mollin, the album's producer, assembled a group of the finest musicians in Nashville (or anywhere in the world) to record an album intentionally free of modern studio tricks. With the superb recording engineer Khyle Lenning on board to capture the sessions, Johnny recorded these songs live in the studio over the course of a week. Johnny's approach is sympathetic to the original country arrangements, with each musician performing with an extraordinary sensitivity supporting some of the most intimate vocals Mathis has ever recorded.
This album contains no booklet.