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"As Long As I'm Singing The Music of Bobby Darin," by Joe Pesole
Citrus Hills Country Club, Hernando, Fla.
November 16, 2010

When the predominantly senior citizen audience at Citrus Hills Country Club in Hernando jammed in the auditorium to hear Dennis Tufano do “Mack is Back in Town,” little did they know they would find Ponce de Leon and his “fountain of youth” instead. "As Long As I’m Singing, The Music of Bobby Darin" does that to people. It is a time machine back to the Crystal Room at the fabulous Desert Inn circa 1972.

What a night this was for rural Florida. Two evening shows with the talented Tufano backed by the great Michael Acosta and his orchestra. I was lucky enough to see both shows. I regret to say that I was so caught up in the music and excitement that I took poor notes and never compiled a set list.  Let’s see if the highlights will suffice.

Actually, the whole show was a highlight and a labor of love for the Italian-Chicago born Dennis Tufano.  This show is a salute to Bobby Darin with material having been written or performed by a plethora of Italian-Americans. 

Dennis added a few new songs that weren’t on the program for the previous Bobby Darin show at The Raue Center in suburban Chicago:  Sway, The Curtain Falls, and The Rascals’ How Can I Be Sure.  Sway was a tip of the hat to Dean Martin and featured a lovely Latin/Calypso beat for Dennis to stroll across the stage with. 

The Curtain Falls is sure to become a staple of future As Long as I’m Singing shows.  Dennis’ delivery rivals and perhaps exceeds Bobby Darin’s.  Its poignant lyrics makes it a pop standard and is one of those songs that really brings back the memories. 

Dennis picks up his Martin acoustic guitar and speaks of Bobby Darin’s influence on his own life, along with mentioning Bobby Kennedy and Dodd Darin, two very important people in Bobby Darin’s life.  The first one being the slain presidential candidate and the second being Darin’s only child.  If I Were a Carpenter, 18 Yellow Roses, and the 1969 Darin written, Simple Song of Freedom show a different side of Bobby.  A wonderful electric guitar solo reminiscent of the great Chet Atkins could be heard backing up the flawless play of Dennis and the rest of the musicians. 

The enthusiastic audience more than got their money’s worth as Dennis took us through the Darin songbook.  A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square while My Funny Valentine took Mack the Knife Up a Lazy River somewhere Beyond the Sea where you hear the blues on Funny What Love Can Do. 

Dennis closed each show with three Buckingham hits, Don’t You Care, Mercy, Mercy, Mercy, and Kind of a Drag.  It was about this time that I got goose bumps to go with my tired, applause worn hands.  Hope to see many more of you in 2011 when Dennis Tufano takes "As Long As I’m Singing" to a city near you.

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