First thing’s first here: this cover sucks. I seriously think it might be one of the worst album covers ever made, mainly because it makes Dean Martin look like a douche, and in real life he never looked that goofy. They’ve got him dressed up in some lame outfit and on top of it whoever created this is making look like he’s dancing a jig. It’s just horrible. I keep wondering if Dean had to sign off on this cover or if it was just something the record company pushed through. The thing is I’m convinced that if they had used a photograph instead of a drawing he could have pulled it off. Don’t believe me? Check out how cool the guy looks for his country album:
Okay so enough about the cover. The concept of Swingin’ Down Yonder is that Dean is doing songs associated with the American south. It’s such a bizarre release from someone associated with Italian love songs, but the guy absolutely nails it. The songs are lighthearted without being silly and it doesn’t contain a single moment where you roll your eyes in embarassment. The music is created by traditional instruments instead of Dino’s usual orchestral music and his voice blends with it perfectly. The only complaint I have is with the bonus tracks included on the re-release that I have; they don’t fit in with the concept and it’s a little jarring when they start, but really that’s a small quibble.
There are a lot of good Dean Martin albums but I would rank this among my top two or three studio albums. Despite the terrible cover and the odd concept this is a great display of his talent.