The Best of Bond
...James Bond

3 out of 5 stars
Reviewed for Coffeerooms by Mike Jefferson

"The Best of Bond...James Bond" is a dish best served up with a martini and a plate of caviar. The best of the songs attached to the multi-million dollar franchise are elegant, sumptuous and gloriously overblown, as exciting as a tuxedo wearing spy who saves the world. The best of the theme songs are mini-epics, diamonds that are forever. The more recent efforts fall into the realm of "Dr., No!"

Good Bond
The songs that will leave you saying "Roger...give me more!"

John Barry's "James Bond theme" is the right choice for the opener, combining a twangy Duane Eddy guitar lick with a powerhouse horn section, while mixing together elements of stealth and sophistication with the strength and of explosiveness Mt. St. Helens. Barry was the franchise's early MVP, providing the rich, vivid scores that energized each singer's performance. International crooner Matt Munro swaggers through the smooth, warm strings bathing "From Russia With Love" sounding like a downer-dosed Steve Lawrence. You can picture Matt singing this in a tailored tux in a London lounge while winking at ladies dripping with diamonds. Munro delivers a sleepy performance, but can sustain a note like a Cossack hung up on the horn of his saddle.

There couldn't be a best of without Shirley Bassey's "Goldfinger," the quintessential Bond barnburner written by Barry, actor/singer Anthony Newley and lyricist Leslie Briscusse. "Goldfinger" was supervised by Beatles producer George Martin, who was on a creative roll with the little combo from Liverpool. Barry's horns enter with a dramatic WAH-WAH-WAH as bombastic Bassey booms out "GOLD...FING...GAH!" accentuating every syllable. Bassey's performance is solid gold. She's bold and brassy, but she's also seductive and sexy, something the other Bond girls lack. Even Q couldn't come up with a weapon as powerful as Bassey's voice. Watch out for her final note, it'll shatter the windows in your Aston Martin.


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