This f eature spotlights noteworthy compilations and reissues. Artists: Bobby Darin and Johnny Mercer.
Album: "Two of a Kind" (Atco).
History: Two of a kind? Rock-era teen idol Bobby Darin and urbane composer Johnny Mercer, writer of some of America's greatest popular classics? You bet--"like two pomegranates from off the same tree," as they sing on this scintillating 1961 album's title song. After the silliness of "Splish Splash" made him a rock 'n' roll star, Darin turned out to be perhaps the finest Sinatra-style vocalist of his era. His versions of "Mack the Knife" and "Beyond the Sea" are only the two best-known examples of his coolly brash way with swinging material. And Mercer, besides writing incredibly clever lyrics and/or music for songs like "Laura," "Moon River" and "Blues in the Night," was a singer who more than made up for an ordinary voice with terrific phrasing and feeling. According to Stanley Green's liner notes on this album--which has just been re-released with the original packaging--the collaboration was Darin's idea, and the emphasis would be on older, neglected corners of Tin Pan Alley. Darin died in 1973 at age 37, a victim of his lifelong heart ailment. Mercer was 66 when he died three years later.