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SAMMY DAVIS JR. SINGS; LAURINDO ALMEIDA PLAYS

The late—and let us say without equivocation—great Sammy Davis Jr. was not exactly known for simplicity of dress, demeanor or delivery. He was usually all energy and snapping fingers, briskly tapping toes, lavish production values and large orchestras. But this reissue of an album recorded 25 years ago tunes into a very different side of Mr. Entertainment, that of a reflective balladeer with a direct line to the heart. His sole backup is a guitar, that of the sensitive Brazilian Almeida. It is enough. (Only on “The Folks Who Live on the Hill,” which is brushed with the sound of flamenco, is it too much.)

Most of the songs—”Here’s That Rainy Day,” “Where Is Love?” “Every Time We Say Goodbye,” “The Shadow of Your Smile”—deal with love lost or love never found, and Davis imbues them with a lovely wistfulness. Best are “Joey, Joey, Joey,” the confession of a man who loves and leaves, from Frank Loesser’s The Most Happy Fella, and Kurt Weill’s classic “Speak Low.”

This is just plain Sammy and simply fine. (DCC Compact Classics)