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Thread: Frank Sinatra: Album Of The Month #17 (Jan 2009) "The Concert Sinatra"

  1. #1

    Frank Sinatra: Album Of The Month #17 (Jan 2009) "The Concert Sinatra"

    I'd like to start off by wishing everyone a very happy and healthy New Year.

    Well, if there is an album that has a chance of matching, or even topping last months album, In the Wee Small Hours, this would be the one.

    Presenting the first "Album of the Month" for 2009.....


    Like the album In the Wee Small Hours, this was orchestrated and conducted by Nelson Riddle. This was different from other recordings because it features a larger than normal orchestra. Also, it was recorded on a 35mm tape. The title refers to the orchestra as I mentioned before. It is not a documentation of a live concert. There are eight (8) songs on this album. They are...

    "I Have Dreamed" (Rodgers/Hammerstein)- 3:01
    "My Heart Stood Still" (Rodgers/Hart)- 3:06
    "Lost In the Stars" (Anderson/Weill)- 4:11
    "Ol' Man River" (Kern/Hammerstein)- 4:29
    "You'll Never Walk Alone" (Rodgers/Hammerstein)- 3:11
    "Bewitched" (Rodgers/Hart)- 3:02
    "This Nearly Was Mine" (Rodgers/Hammerstein)- 2:49
    "Soliloquy" (Rodgers/Hammerstein)- 8:05

    Now I'd like to say some things about the album that don't come from the world encyclopedia or Bob.

    This without a doubt is my personal favorite Sinatra recording that he has ever made. I'm also going to go out on a limb and say that this is the best album he's made as well. This is not just an album in my opinion, this is a gem. From Frank's flawless vocals to Nelson's beautiful, touching, and exploding arrangements, this album I think is overlooked by some for a few reasons. With people like Johnny Mandel, Don Costa, Neal Hefti, and Count Basie being featured in most of Sinatra's Reprise albums from 1961 to 1965, Nelson Riddle wasn't appearing as much as he was in the Capitol years. Also, this may be overlooked because it is not a swing album with a heavy brass section like the albums with Basie, Hefti, and Mandel. But let me tell you, this is much, much better. This album has something that those one's don't. It has has a certain warmth about it that's difficult to describe without hearing it. For me, this album is breathtaking, heart-wrenching, and more beautifully laid out than any other album that Sinatra, or anyone else for that matter has ever or will ever make.

    The song choices for this album are another part for me the contributes to the greatness of the album.

    Starting with my personal favorite, I Have Dreamed. When I listen to this one, it makes me think of love blossoming between two people. Kind of like someone dreaming of what will happen in the future, and it coming true. That's how it sounds to me. Also, as a side note on this song, I also think of the movie The American President. The scene where President Shepard and Sidney Ellen Wade are dancing to this song in the ballroom. Hearing the instrumental version of the song in the movie just goes to show how beautiful a song it is even without the words.

    My Heart Stood Still has one of the prettiest orchestrations I'd have to say out of all in this album. Anytime I hear this one, I think of a boy who is walking along and sees a beautiful girl for the first time, and is so in love, gets filled up with emotion and just faints. (Not literally)

    The third song on this album, Lost In the Stars, is a song that I think many people can relate to because maybe they aren't doing so well now with life, thinking the God has forgot about them. Thinking once that they did have "the stars in the palm of their hand". However, relating to this song or not, what captures me the most about me is the marvelous orchestration. I think the strings are kind of aids helping to tell the story here. As you can tell the general mood and feel the climax of the song, as you can with only Nelson's orchestrations.

    I don't think there are words to describe the perfection displayed in all fields of this next song. So I will just say that it is Ol' Man River. It's obvious what the storyline of the song is about, but what makes it what it is Sinatra's performance of it. The line "and you land in jail..." That "jaaaaaaiiiiiil" alone just gives me the shivers. Without a doubt this is the most difficult song vocally. I'm sure Nancy and Rick, being vocalists at a professional level, can back me up there. You can listen to the original version from 1927 or any other ones for that matter, you won't find a better one than this. That's how amazing. Lexus has a saying about "the pursuit of perfection", well, this is the result of perfection. Just absolutly stellar performance. I could go on for hours about how amazing Frank's performance here is here. That's how amazing it is.

    You'll Never Walk Alone is the first out of two songs one this album from the show A Carousel. You could also say it is the sad song of the album. In the show A Carousel, it is sung after William Bigelow has committed suicide after an unsuccessful robbery to try to console her. To tell you the truth, whenever I hear this song, I think of Jerry Lewis singing it on his telethon. I'm sure that's true for other people as well. It's not a song I like to hear often because I'm constantly reminded of the telethon.

    Bewitched, or Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered, is one of the first songs I've heard from this album, before owning the whole album. More of a rated-G version of the song, not using some of the suggestive lyrics that in my opinion are very shallow. And I'm glad Frank didn't use some of them, as if you look up the lyrics, it's a very long song with many verses.

    This Nearly Was Mine is one of my favorites. It has a very relatable way about it and a very pretty melody. It tells about a dream that came short and now they are all alone. This is the "saloon song" in the album. In my opinion, it's a fairly transparent saloon song. Some of them take some time to grasp the meaning, but this one isn't one of those. I would've liked to hear it with just Frank and the piano. But it's great with the orchestra too.

    The second of the tunes from A Carousel, is Soliloquy. I can very much relate to this song because I am the type of person that when motivated, will do anything in my power and even outside of my power to get something done. That's what this song is about. All eight minutes of it. A man discovering that he's going to be a father and what he needs to do and be.

    So that's a brief summary of what the songs come off as to me. Of course, everyone's entitled to their own opinion. I think that's another reason why this album is so beautiful. No matter how you interpret the lyric of the songs, it's still wonderful music with a gigantic orchestra, lush strings, and the greatest storyteller to tell the tales.

    I recommend everyone give this album a listen this week if you haven't recently. You won't be disappointed.

    I hope everyone enjoys this first album of the month for 2009, and may there be many more great ones to come!

    Also, before I forget, a special thanks to Rick, Marty, and Bob for helping me with all this formatting jazz.

    It's new to me, hope I did it right.
    ~Robert
    "I like the sunrise"

  2. #2
    Bravo, Robert

    A very sweet tribute to a superb album. I Have Dreamed is also on the top of my favorites list. It is so moving that I often get chills while listening to it. I'm going to put this album on now -- even though it's not midnight here on the West Coast yet, I'm ready to celebrate the new year and this ablum is a great way to start. Thank you!

    P.S. Can't believe I haven't played this in my new car! This is an album that needs to be "played loud" - can't bast it as much at home, so can't wait to hit the road tomorrow!

  3. An excellent choice, Robert, and very nicely done.

  4. #4
    Guest
    To truly appreciate the huge concert orchestra that was recorded on the Goldwyn soundstage, one must view the full photograph which occupied both sides of the gatefold album cover:


    [ Photo: © Ted Allan / MPTV ]

  5. #5
    Great choice, Robert! I liked your opinion about this album. Very good.
    What?

  6. #6
    Any Sinatra album is an excellent choice for Album Of The Month but The Concert Sinatra is an extra special selection. I listen to it often on CD and LP. This is Frank’s most dramatic and powerful album... you won’t find better versions of these songs anywhere else. My favorite track has always been Ol’ Man River. Also, Riddle’s arrangements are flawless and some of the best he ever wrote. To me, these are the finest recordings that Frank made at Reprise.
    Allen
    "Could start for the corner... turn up in Spain... why try to change me now..."

  7. #7
    Bob, what is that large white screen, or picture, in the background of the photo you posted? (Fabulous, photo)

  8. #8

    Robert

    Wonderful choice! Happy and a Healthy New Year to you and your family!
    LEATRICE (LEE) Fort Myers, Florida, USA
    Sinatra, Sinatra,Sinatra! Pray for Robin!

  9. #9
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Gail View Post
    Bob, what is that large white screen, or picture, in the background of the photo you posted?
    I really don't know, Gail. I assume it's some sort of sound reflecting surface. Perhaps one of our recording experts will know. I wish the photo was larger, but it's linked from MPTV.net, and that's the size that's available there. The front and back covers of the LP (or even the CD) are more legible.

  10. #10
    Is there any video from that session??
    When You're Here, It's Family
    www.reverbnation.com/Soundslikefrank/songs

  11. #11
    Excellent choice Robert.

    Time to pull out my mono LP.



    - Terry

    "Each time I find myself flat on my face, I pick myself up and get back in the race".

  12. Because they recorded on an actual sound stage, they "inherited" the screen that is used in dubbing movies. The conductor watches the loop on the screen and fits the music cue to the film clip.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Nancy View Post
    Because they recorded on an actual sound stage, they "inherited" the screen that is used in dubbing movies. The conductor watches the loop on the screen and fits the music cue to the film clip.
    Thanks, Nancy.

  14. #14
    I always loved the album cover photo, especially the wide version double gate LP version which has not been available over here for as long as I can remember.

    I have already given my views on this wonderful album and Bob will have the link somewhere, so I am going to try not to be entirely repetitive.

    However, it is refreshing to me to see how this album continues to appeal and especially to younger members as it is discovered by them for the first time.

    Each song on the album is a definitive masterpiece and a demonstration of how to do it. There is simply no other recorded version by FS or even any other artist which supercedes any of these recordings.

    "I Have Dreamed" is indeed also one of my very favourite Sinatra recordings and it is a beautiful and powerful recording. I adored it from the beginning and was lucky to personally see and hear FS do it live in London.

    What can anyone possibly add to what has already been said about these flawless and simply superb definitive recordings of "Soliloquy" and "Ol' Man River"? They are among the greatest recordings of our time or of any time for that matter.
    It is so interesting to me that those two marvellous songs, 'classics' as I think they now are, together with "My Heart Stood Still" and "Bewitched", which are equally outstanding recordings, were songs which FS would come to again and again during his live concert appearances throughout the subsequent 30 or so years of his career and he almost always employed those very same grand Nelson Riddle arrangements. Clearly FS was aware that these recordings were very special and they held throughout a significant position in his repertoire.

    The only criticism which could possibly be levelled against this album, which has nothing whatever to do with its content, is that notwithstanding the impressive detail stated on the album cover regarding the state of the art quality of the studio recording masters, which were, I understand, in fact recorded on 35 mm Mag film, the final released album whether on LP or even CD sadly has never quite reflected anything like the expected quality and there is also some noticeable hiss on some tracks. However, a recently remastered version of 'Bewitched' taken from the original 35mm Mag film masters (as appearing on the recent compilation album "Nothing But The Best") demonstrates vastly improved sound and we can only hope that we will all soon be treated to a newly remastered version of this entire album, which may well be in the wings. It will be worth waiting for.


    Jeffrey

  15. #15

    Great Choice

    Robert, I agree "The Concert Sinatra" is a great choice for the Jan Album of the Month. It is one I have not listened to for some time, so I will get it out and give it a well deserved month of play.
    Mary

  16. Quote Originally Posted by Stnwy18 View Post

    Bewitched, or Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered, is one of the first songs I've heard from this album, before owning the whole album. More of a rated-G version of the song, not using some of the suggestive lyrics that in my opinion are very shallow. And I'm glad Frank didn't use some of them, as if you look up the lyrics, it's a very long song with many verses.
    Wow. I had never read those lyrics before. Heh. Frankly, they are just a tad laughable. :P

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by LuckBeALady View Post
    Wow. I had never read those lyrics before. Heh. Frankly, they are just a tad laughable. :P
    You can google the song and find the complete lyric.
    ~Robert
    "I like the sunrise"

  18. #18
    Those ants that invaded my pants-finis
    kinda reminded me of JOP's Uninvited Guests Thread....
    When You're Here, It's Family
    www.reverbnation.com/Soundslikefrank/songs

  19. I enjoyed your review, Robert

    Now I have "I have Dreamed" in my head. Beautiful.
    Melanie
    She loves the theatre but never comes late That's why the Lady is a Tramp.

  20. #20
    I would have given anything to be present for the recording of this masterpiece. Its too bad these sessions weren't video taped. It would have been one hell of a "making of" documentary like "L.A Is My Lady". Thank God for Mr. Sinatra's impeccable taste in music or we'd never have LPs like this! Joe
    Joe

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