I Believe - 1956 LP Compilation Album

I Believe - Perry Como

The measure of a popular music singer’s greatness, contrary to general opinion, is not necessarily found in the way he delivers the outstanding song hits of the day, but in the sentiment and feeling with which he can surround the music both of another tradition and another medium.

On both these counts there has never been the slightest doubt concerning the artistry of Perry Como. Star of hit record after hit record, and currently one of the leading lights of television, Perry’s easy, relaxed style fits perfectly around pop tunes of every description. But he also is the possessor of a dramatic and heartfelt manner, a style perfectly well-known to his host of fans, and one which he uses to utmost advantage in this current album of inspirational songs.

A result of countless requests from those who have heard Perry sing on radio and in television, the present collection of hymns of all types represents one of the singer’s greatest achievements. It is an album which contains not only some of Perry’s finest singing, but also what are undoubtedly among his most sincere interpretations.

No one who has heard Perry sing I Believe can lightly dismiss its effect. This tune, which has deservedly found a permanent place in popular musical literature, is one of the singer’s most frequently encored selections, and now that it has finally been recorded, seems destined to take its place in the long list of tunes which have become known as "Como standards."

In spite of the fact that it is not a religious selection, another Como standard, The Rosary, has been included on this record because of its reverent comparison of pure human love to a rosary; and in May Brahe’s simple, sincere hymn Bless this House, this reverence is expanded to include the family and the home.

Though not a "popular" tune in the generally accepted meaning of the term, Onward Christian Soldiers is a rousing hymn which has been popular for many years and which, as a result of Perry’s projection and spirit, will certainly have a wider acceptance than ever.

It is not very often that one hears the Act of Contrition sung outside the Church. Its melody, though uninvolved, is immensely affecting, as is that of Goodnight, Sweet Jesus — both delivered by Perry with the feeling and sincerity which they richly deserve. Though the words of the Ave Maria and The Lord’s Prayer, like those of the Act of Contrition, are part of the Church service itself, these two simple melodic beauties are frequently used in concert repertoire and are perhaps the most beloved of liturgical works.

Abide with Me and Nearer, My God to Thee are titles well-known to a large segment of the American population, sung by Perry in the same poignant, yet forceful manner. And finally, both Eli, Eli and Kol Nidrei, examples of a darkly emotional strain, are chanted by Perry with all the somber dignity inherent in their music.

Great music cannot reasonably be called great without an interpreter of equal stature — at least, it cannot possibly strike us with the same impact. The least that can be said is that the music in this album has met with one of the finest practitioners in the field, and that the stature of each has been enhanced by this fortunate encounter. To us, the listeners, it is a rare treat to hear such a unique combination; and to Perry Como must go the honors for making the music live for us anew.

Copyright 1956, Radio Corporation of America

        I Believe ~ 1956 compilation

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Monday, January 18, 2021