Bobby Darin Live! at the Desert Inn was originally recorded in 1971 and it shows off what an outstanding performer Bobby Darin was. Darin could sing just about anything and the assortment of material and styles on this CD covers the gamut.
"Save The Country" is a high energy opener which features an 'a capella' section which few singers would dare to do. The song is protest oriented and has a powerful message. "Mack The Knife" was a hit record for Darin and considering how many times he had to sing it, this rendition has the freshness and spontaneity of being done for the first time. Darin has fun with the lyrics and the arrangement starts off quietly and builds into a full orchestra accompaniment and Darin's vocal builds with the arrangement. "Fire and Rain", the James Taylor song, succumbs to Darin's emotional reading which resounds with the heartbreak told in the lyrics. Darin does it accompanied only by a single acoustic guitar. "Hi De Ho" is a blues rocker which also features a harmonica solo by Darin and the backing of the Jeannie Thomas Singers....and it does rock. The Beatles medley track consists of songs that blend easily into each other and Darin's reading of the songs testifies to his admiration of The Beatles, whom he called "the four wizards from Liverpool". "Higher and Higher" is another rocker. Then the pace changes as the next track is "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" which is done in a country feel with a folk guitar backing. "If I Were A Carpenter" was another hit record for Darin and he does it here featuring a haunting flute solo. "Simple Song Of Freedom" shows off one more facet of Bobby Darin's multi-talents. This is a song that he wrote and it is a protest against the then raging Viet Nam war. There was an encore at this live performance and it consisted of a rock and roll medley which included Darin's first big hit "Splish Splash".
In addition to the music in this performance, some of Darin's in-between monologue is included. This gives a glimpse of his personality and, especially, his sense of humor. And as an extra added attraction, there are two previously unreleased tracks included. "Work Song" is the Tennessee Ernie Ford hit which Darin interprets with the minimum amount of accompaniment. "Beyond The Sea" is the other track and Darin swings this one with his vocal floating over the playing of the band.
Darin's choice of material here sends a message of peace, love, freedom and human dignity. These values are just as important today as they were when this performance was recorded. And it is Bobby Darin's talent that is still alive in this reissue....a consummate performer who had a vocal range and a sensibility that allowed him to sing any kind of song and touch his audiences.