By 1960, multi-talented vocalist Bobby Darin had made a successful transition from teen idol rock'n'roller to swinging crooner. He had changed "Splish Splash" and "Queen of the Hop" for "Mack the Knife" and "Beyond the Sea," and even though the rock records he made in the mid-'50s are valuable examples of the early stage of his career, the switch arguably meant that he was growing up musically and artistically. In the summer of 1960, Darin began an engagement at the Copacabana in New York, and so Atlantic Records decided to tape some of his concerts there and issue a live album, Darin at the Copa, documenting his much-publicized Copa appearances. It would not be, by any means, Darin's only live recording, but in my opinion, it is undoubtedly his best because it captures the singer at his swinging peak, having fun with the musicians and the audience and mixing hits like "Mack" and "Dream Lover" with standards like "Some of These Days," blues-inflected tunes such as "Alright, O.K., You Win," and even ballads like "I Have Dreamed." The musical variety is astounding (Darin even has time to sit at the piano and do Ray Charles's "I Got a Woman") and Darin's fun-loving attitude on stage is simply infectious throughout.
|Bobby Darin on stage in Vegas, early 1960s|
|Darin os stage in Vegas, 1960|
|Poster for a Darin engagement at the Copa in 1967|
|Bobby Darin with Richard Behrke (sitting) and Johnny Mercer (far right)|