Monday, November 21, 2011

Duets II: by Tony Bennett (review)

2011 release from the legendary crooner. Duets II is the follow-up to Tony Bennett's multi-platinum CD, Duets, which was released in conjunction with Tony's 80th birthday in 2006. Duets won three Grammy Awards and was the singer's best selling album to date. Now the legendary performer celebrates a milestone 85th birthday with the release of Duets II. The singer has completed recording with Lady Gaga and Aretha Franklin, adding to a celebrated list of artists previously announced including Amy Winehouse, Michael Buble, Norah Jones, John Mayer, Queen Latifah, Carrie Underwood and many others.
Sample the CD and have a quick listen!

"Duets II" is much like the initial 2006 duets collection but much more modern, with todays biggest pop stars vocalizing with him. Whether or not he and his given duet partner are a suitable pairing. His personality and status as America's foremost singer of songs must guide the way. 

" A must see is the track with the late Amy Winehouse on "Body and Soul," a heartbreaking, apt tune for the chanteuse's final recording. Both are in their element, and the result is fraught with unrequited longing and slow-burning desperation. It is a fortunate teaming of two great talents bathed in instant pathos in its reminder of how fleeting art, like life, can be. Winehouse's voice was a fine instrument indeed, and "Body and Soul" showcases it. "

"Duets II" is certainly well worth the money and time that was invested in it, as it would be a wonderful addition to your collection as well. Tony Bennett lets you know you haven't seen or heard the last from him. His appearance on the MTV Music Awards this year he looks like he hasn't aged a day and still has that swagger and sex appeal. His voice is reminiscent of Sinatra and the performance with Amy Winehouse's recording was sight to behold. Even my 19 month old baby stopped and stared.  "Body and Soul" is perhaps the most popular tune in music history (check out the numbers at or If you listening to Amy's first album--"Frank," the one before her hugely popular "Back to Black"--this is definitely her genre. It's too bad she will not be recording anymore. She had a really beautiful voice. Once she finished the daunting "Moody's Mood for Love," you knew right then that she was capable of delivering the goods in more than one style or genre. If you are interested, I have included a video of the full song in the bottom of this post!

Faith Hill and Bennett on "The Way You Look Tonight" create a romantic and enchanting melody, if slightly odd pairing. It makes the CD even more loveable and desirable. "Speak Low" with Ms. Jones is a sexually enticing and dripping with desire. Tony Bennett still has "it". That's one thing that;'s for sure. he brings to his partners a certain sense on melancholy and wistful time that most of the music produced today does not still offer.

Charles DeForest's "When Do the Bells Ring for Me," is an entrancing duet on this CD with Mariah Carey that ends the disc strongly. It is quite magical to listen to.

Duet partners who earn their keep on this collection include K.D. lang, Willie Nelson, Norah Jones, Natalie Cole, Andrea Bocelli, Faith Hill, Lady Gaga, Queen Latifah, Josh Groban and Alejandro Sanz, whose passion fills the timeless "Yesterday I Heard the Rain."

"How Do You Keep the Music Playing?" with Aretha Franklin is my least favorite track, as I have never been one to get past R.E.S.P.E.C.T and that's really the only recognizable and enjoyable track she has (in my opinion).

The K.D. Lang and Bennett duet on the evergreen, lovely "Blue Velvet" reflects their longtime friendship - while Lady Gaga has her usual spunk and charm on the sprightly "The Lady is a Tramp," a three-minute track in which her personality & vocal ability drips from and perhaps over shadows Bennett in. Bennett is tickled to be recording with her, and their chemistry is very strong.  But Lady Gaga sings the song and the word "Tramp" with the most assured conviction I have heard her sing. Sounds like she is quite familiar with the term, yes? (LOL! If you are interested, I have included a video of the full song in the bottom of this post!

Michael Buble sings on "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" with his trademark bland, self-interested swagger that runs a very thin emotional gamut. 

Sheryl Crow's "The Girl I Love," is slightly bland and John Mayer is overshadowed by the strong vocals with Bennett on their selection.

Tony Bennet is well known for his beautiful oaken voice, his songs are as full of emotion and heart as ever. In fact, Bennett's warmth and charisma are still so strong they sometimes obscure the presence of his duet partners who simply do not have hearts as big as his to offer listeners. 

But for Tony and the highlights on the album, the result, on balance, still amounts to a winner: 5 stars, out of 5 a definite thumbs-up this album is chock full of timeless performances and the pairings are for the most part immaculate. 

Certain retailers carry exclusive versions with bonus tracks, so do your homework.

DisclaimerI received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” The opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own. Your experience with the product may differ from mine.


EmeraldandJade said...

Oo, I want this! I love duets/collaborations and the ones on here are so diverse. Makes me sad to hear Amy though. Classic music and show tunes are so under appreciated nowadays .

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