"it’s my American songbook!" "No, it’s my American songbook!"

Everybody, it seems, is doing songbook and cover albums now. First Rod Stewart, then Barry Manilow—whose collection of 70s "classics" includes "Close To You", originally recorded in 1963—and now Queen Latifah, Babyface, and, after a 16 year hiatus, Frankie Valli (there are also three different repackagings/compilations of Ella Fitzgerald’s original composer songbooks series from the fifties, all with "Great American Songbook" somewhere in their title). But, look out, ‘cause here comes the king of the pop crooners, Tony Bennett, with a full page ad in the New York Times, delivering not another "Great" American Songbook, but Tony Bennett Sings the Ultimate American Songbook, Vol. 1. There isn’t a single title that anyone even vaguely familiar with classic American pop wouldn’t recognize, and for Bennett, who’s probably recorded most of these songs three times already, it will be a walk round the park with old friends. Optimistically titled, too, considering Bennett is 81 years old.

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