Covering songs indelibly associated with a singer can be a dicey proposition. Especially when that singer is Ol' Blue Eyes.

Covering songs indelibly associated with a singer can be a dicey proposition. Especially when that singer is Ol' Blue Eyes. But R&B/pop/jazz veteran Lou Rawls—whom Frank Sinatra said has "the smoothest chops in the business"—treads undaunted into icon territory. Such cuts as "Come Fly With Me" are still identified with Sinatra and come off as dated. But Rawls manages to put his own cool stamp on the proceedings. "Nice 'N' Easy" and "Learnin' the Blues" are prime examples. And "My Kind of Town/Chicago" features the Windy City-bred singer's trademark rap. With this outing, recorded at the Capitol studios where both Rawls and Sinatra worked, Rawls underscores an indelible fact of his own: Those street-honed chops can still hit home.—GM