I don't know much of Pat's work, but my guess is that this is was his best record. Old Allmusic.com claims as much. So why all the praise? There are a couple great things going on on this record. #1 Pat. He swings. I mean he really swings. #2. The band. I think it could be argued that the real star of the album is the band behind Pat. I don't think he could swing or sound like he's swinging without this amazing band and the orchestrations behind him.
So what are the highlights? Well, to be perfectly honest here, every song, but if I had to pick something I'd lean toward the gospel numbers "Yes Indeed!" and "Lonesome Road". Something interesting happens when Pat's ultra smooth "Bing Crosby-esque" voice takes on these soulful gospel numbers. On paper it sounds like it should be a train wreck, but the end results is something completely unique and enjoyable. Perhaps these songs work because I believe Pat really believes and feels these songs and so he brings all of his soul to them.
Another one I love is "They Can't Take That Away From Me". This is one of the examples where I think the orchestration and the band steal the show. Sure Pat does a good job on vox, but the band stands out. It is ever changing and surprising you. Near the opening there is a great little big with an electric guitar and then you never really hear it again. It comes in, provides a nice little flavor and then steps back. That sort of thing happens throughout the song, never repeating itself.
"My Baby Just Cares For Me" is also fun. It has this great bit toward the end where Pat has fun with the lyrics. He sings about his baby not caring for Bing, Perry Como, Sinatra, Ricky Nelson. I think this adds a nice personal touch and it makes me smile.
And probably swingingest number on the whole thing is "American Beauty Rose". It also has some back up singers which come in as another pleasant surprise. The great thing is that when you listen to the album from start to finish you get to this song and you think you know what you're going to get. You have settled in to listening to Pat and band and then these other singers come in. I remember just smiling when I first heard them, thinking this album is just never going to just settle for okay. It is going to keep every song interesting and new. So don't jump ahead to this song. Listen to it in context of the whole album and see if you have the same experience.
So I've rambled enough about this album today. Now it's your turn to listen.