My first Shirley Bassey album (after a few compilations). Outstanding! At times you can hear how her "voice" is too strong for the recording equipment of the day...
I agree that it's great to hear these original albums after so many compilations. I, too, think she is almost too powerful for Geoff Love's orchestra on this one. I think I prefer her later album, with Nelson Riddle, called Let's Face The Music in which her voice had mellowed a little.
I agree: my father introduced me to the Gunfighter Ballads & Trail Songs album(*) as a youngster and I've since bought that album (coupled with the follow up album: More ...) plus a 50 song compilation double CD.
Not everything is 1st class but most of the material is very enjoyable.
A couple of anecdotes: Ken Bruce (UK BBC Radio 2 presenter) claims that MR went into a studio and recorded the whole album(*) ... in a day.
MR took his most famous song/hit (it was a hit in the UK) called El Paso and developed two further songs from the material.
There was a 8+ minute song called Feleena which told the story from the girl's point of view; and a song called El Paso City in which the singer (MR) tells the story as he flies above El Paso. This includes a wonderful line: "I don't recall who sang the song ..." which must be one of the best in-jokes in a song ever!
As a life-long Sinatra fan, I'm afraid that album Some Nice Things ... is, IMHO, his worst. You can almost hear him say in between the lines of "Tie A Yellow Ribbon ...": this is awful ... what am I doing singing this rubbish? And Sweet Caroline - oh, no!
As for the Henry Mancini disk, it has several truly wonderful pieces (I particularly like: Phaedra) and several not so good (I could do without: Seventy Six Trombones) but I find this all the time with HM. I think he tried so hard to cover all "easy-listening" tastes that his albums are very much hit and miss listens. My copy of this album is coupled with his vocal album Dear Heart & Other Songs About Love and that has more misses than hits, IMHO.
Gordon Lightfoot - I won the double-header of Did She Mention My Name/Back Here On Earth from ebay for a couple of quid, and it arrived today.
He's one of my (many) weaknesses. Not a natural fit with anything else I tend to listen to, but get that rough baritone going with the marvellous, usually melancholic guitar and his own songs, and that's me lost.