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Peter Marshall, Boysinger.com

For pure, out-of-this-world singing in the style of the big-band crooners, I urge you to investigate Boy Singer, a sensational new CD by Peter Marshall. Yes, the one and only handsome, affable Peter Marshall, whom you loved for years as the best host in the history of Hollywood Squares, has really recaptured the lush sounds of the good old days of Crosby, Sinatra and Torme. His vocal stylings have been one of the best-kept secrets in music. (He’s played the big rooms in Vegas and co-starred with Julie Harris in the ill-fated Sammy Cahn–Jimmy Van Heusen show Skyscraper, but his talents are largely unknown to New Yorkers.) This is his long-awaited first solo CD. It is a marvel.

If he sounds thrillingly like the great Dick Haymes, there’s an obvious reason. Mr. Haymes was once married to film star Joanne Dru, who was Mr. Marshall’s sister, and his laid-back, uncluttered, no-frills phrasing has been a very real influence. The 14 cuts on this remarkable collection reflect that kind of purity, with gorgeous arrangements by Ray Ellis, Alan Copeland, Sammy White and Larry White and a 46-piece orchestra that comprises some of the greatest studio musicians the West Coast has to offer. Mr. Marshall sounds as relaxed in that setting as Sinatra in one of his legendary 4 a.m. sessions with Nelson Riddle, and the phrasing is just to die for. Especially on “Everything Happens To Me”—I have never heard notes bent like that on this song. In fact, I have never heard the song sung with so much hip freshness.

The perfect combination of voice (as warm or cool as the songs demand), brilliant arrangements, great material and easy, conversational phrasing make this a treasure. I am so jazzed up by the chuckles, the occasional been-around crack in the voice, the low lush dives on words like “love” and the first-rate songs—the Burton Lane–E.Y. Harburg jewel “Poor You” has always been an overlooked favorite of mine—that this CD has rarely wandered far from my stereo since it arrived. “Oh, You Crazy Moon,” “This Heart of Mine,” “Fools Rush In,” “I’ll Close My Eyes,” “I’m Glad There is You”—-the repertoire is faultless, unhackneyed and interpreted with fresh vision.

There are new discoveries, too: “Night Life,” a song unknown to me (by Willie Nelson, of all people!) turns out to be the most swinging thing on the list. The string intro on “The More I See You” is worth rewinding just to hear the arrangement before the voice comes in. It all has a wisdom, maturity and appeal that makes the material timeless. I know there’s a tongue-in-cheek theme (boy singer from the World War II days of radio transcriptions, like the weekly show Dick Haymes and Helen Forrest used to do for war bonds), but the hip singing transcends that theme and emerges as contemporary as any vocal stylist can sound today.

Although there are plans afoot to release this CD in stores, Mr. Marshall is presently distributing it himself. The only way you can get it at the time of this writing is via the Internet. Mr. Marshall has his own website: www.boysinger.com. Log on for complete details on how to order; he ships immediately. Trust me on this: It is one CD that no lover of the art of the American popular song can afford to be without.

Now isn’t it time for him to play a New York room like Feinstein’s at the Regency and reacquaint the world with what a terrific singer Peter Marshall is? In a crippled world of honks and screams and terminal laryngitis, listening to the vanishing art of singing like this is like learning how to walk again after a broken leg.