It might seem odd that I'm reviewing this but I had the hots for Ann Margaret as a kid. So sue me. The 1967 film The Swinger is a sort of camp classic. That said, the songs remain not half-bad, as revealed by the recent reissue of the score by Cherry Red Records on a CD called Songs From The Swinger And Other Swingin' Songs / The Pleasure Seekers (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack).
With a -- no pun intended -- swingin' title song, The Swinger benefits immensely from Ann Margaret's considerable vocal talents on the majority of these selections. If the Previn-penned title cut sets the scene, Ann's scorching "I Just Wanna Make Love To You" imbues that old nugget with oodles of sex appeal. The brash "Swinger's Holiday" showcases the talents of composer Marty Paich, the guy behind the music here, while tunes like "More" belong to Ms. Margaret and her breathy way of performing these songs. "You Came A Long Way From St. Louis" is full of bright horn-lines and Ann's semi-belting delivery, while "The Good Life" showcases a relatively subdued spin on that familiar number. If the rest of the score is a bit dated at least the soundtrack to The Swinger serves still as a fine, fine showcase for Ann Margaret as a pop vocalist.
The soundtrack to The Swinger is here paired with the music from the earlier The Pleasure Seekers. This one doesn't have as much camp appeal mainly 'cause the 1964 film's score is just not as fun. That said, there are joys here, notably Ann Margaret's run at "Something To Think About", one of a handful of Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen tunes on offer here. If anything, the score of The Pleasure Seekers would have benefited from more numbers like the superb "Next Time" being included. The tune, an understated gem, serves as a pretty good example of Ann Margaret's skills as a vocalist. Rather than simply knock this one out of the park, Ann delivers a powerful but modulated performance that is really special.
Songs From The Swinger And Other Swingin' Songs / The Pleasure Seekers (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) is out on Friday from Cherry Red Records.