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James Darren: This One’s From the Heart

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Hollywood actor-director-singer James Darren’s collection of standards spins off from his stint playing holographic Vegas crooner Vic Fontaine on the TV series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Darren’s tentative, toneless entrance on the opening phrase of “The Best Is Yet to Come” sets the tone for seventeen tracks of ineptly sung, overdone material (“Night and Day,” “Satin Doll,” etc.) with lavish big band and string orchestra backings. The talents of a phalanx of topnotch arrangers and instrumentalists are squandered on this hopeless showcase for a performer whose rusty chops, stiff time and emotional vacuousness might be acceptable by holographic standards, but can’t survive comparison with Sinatra, Damone, Jones and other flesh-and-blood baritones. This one’s for the remainder bin.