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Thread: Frank Sinatra- Album of the Month #21 (May 2009) Sinatra & Strings

  1. #1

    Frank Sinatra- Album of the Month #21 (May 2009) Sinatra & Strings

    Frank Sinatra- Album of the Month #21 (May 2009) Sinatra & Strings

    1. "I Hadn't Anyone Till You" (Ray Noble) – 3:44
    2. "Night and Day" (Cole Porter) – 3:37
    3. "Misty" (Erroll Garner, Johnny Burke) – 2:41
    4. "Stardust" (Hoagy Carmichael, Mitchell Parish) – 2:48
    5. "Come Rain or Come Shine" (Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer) – 4:06
    6. "It Might as Well Be Spring" (Richard Rodgers, Oscar
    Hammerstein II) – 3:15
    7. "Prisoner of Love" (Russ Columbo, Leo Robin, Clarence
    Gaskill) – 3:50
    8. "That's All" (Bob Haymes, Alan Brandt) – 3:21
    9. "All or Nothing at All" (Jack Lawrence, Arthur Altman) – 3:43
    10. "Yesterdays" (Otto Harbach, Jerome Kern) – 3:45
    Bonus tracks included on the 1991 CD release:
    11. "As You Desire Me" (Allie Wurbel)
    12. "Don't Take Your Love From Me" (Henry Nemo) – 4:05
    Released: January 1962
    Recorded: November 20, 21, 22, 1961

    ************************************************** **

    Sinatra & Strings, Frank Sinatra's first album with arranger Don Costa, is a romantic collection of ballads and is one of his most sensual records. Costa’s arrangements are exceedingly lush and in a way, sound like updated versions of Axel Stordahl’s charts. And while most will be very familiar with the song selection, as the liner notes state, “even a classic can’t be taken for granted-not when Sinatra gives it his attention.” This album is a particular favorite of mine because of how well the Costa arrangements compliment The Voice. FS is able to muster smooth, measured, yet passionate vocals that breathe new life into these standards. His diction is perfect, clear and achingly tender in places. 1962 was a watershed year in terms of some stellar FS releases: Swingin' Brass, All Alone, Great Songs from Great Britain and Sinatra & Strings.

    The arrangements on this album take some interesting chances that add to the exquisite, overall vibe of this definitive ballads collection. "Prisoner of Love," boasts one of Frank's strongest vocal performances. His phrasing here is magnificent, and he knocks out some of his most powerful notes on record, while the opening "I Hadn't Anyone Till You" is a fabulous love song with an absolutely luscious arrangement and a tender yet forceful Sinatra vocal. "That's All" is classic Frank, as is his unbeatable performance of "Misty.” For those who want to hear Frank at the absolute peak of his vocal strength, check out the last note at the end of the haunting reworking of his first hit, "All Or Nothing At All."

    Costa's orchestra plays an understated introduction to "Stardust," and then Sinatra sings only the verse to the song and completely leaves out the chorus. It gives Carmichael's classic standard a spare, somber, and elegant feel that is almost beyond description. Equally brilliant is Sinatra's passionate, intense, superbly evocative interpretation of "Come Rain or Come Shine." It is the definitive version of that song and ranks among the best ballads that he ever recorded. Costa's lush orchestrations blend perfectly with Frank's deepening baritone and the heavy emphasis on strings gives the album an operatic feel.

    Many of Frank's albums are dependent upon a circumstance or situation. Swingin' Brass works best when the listener is feeling fine and energetic on a sunny day. When it comes to All Alone, the gloomier the weather and the listener's mood, the finer the album becomes. However this is the album for all occasions, it is romantic and relaxing, yet powerful and energizing while managing to remain melancholy.

    This is a true masterpiece; Sinatra at his very best. A rare CD, if you see it, buy it. You will not be disappointed. Of course the digital version has recently been made available and is a lot more affordable than some of the used CDs out there. It is my privilege to present Sinatra & Strings, as the SFF Album of the Month for May. Curl up with a loved one and put this disc on. It won’t disappoint.

    ************************************************** **

    Thank you again for allowing me to share one of my favorites with you. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and insights on this classic.


  2. #2
    Thanks Rob, great choice!

    "Come Rain or Come Shine" and "All or Nothing At All" are gems, but my personal favorite is "That's All", very underrated song. I'll give this one a listen later.
    "I like the sunrise"

  3. One of my all-time favorite arrangements for FS is here on this album, "Come Rain Or Come Shine". Truly one of Don Costa's masterpieces of his arranging career.

    One of my most-prized FS vinyl LP posessions that I own is this vinyl release, and I held off buying it when I first started picking them up in the early 1980s. It wasn't until 1985 when some Japanese Capitol and Reprise re-issues started reaching the USA that I bought those titles, "Sinatra And Strings" was one of them. What made it special was that it contained "bonus tracks" and they're the same ones that make up the bonus on the CD release. Another thing was the clarity of the recording and the attention to detail of the packaging which was on heavy cardboard and heavy vinyl. Nothing flimsy about this Japanese LP release, and most certainly nothing flimsy in the recordings and how FS and Costa present these wonderful tunes for us to enjoy forever.
    Gonzalo Duque "Gonzo"
    1997 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC 4.6L Cobra V8

  4. #4
    Great choice.
    My favorite is "Stardust".
    S V Peluzio Jr

  5. #5
    Wonderful choice! I just listened to this album a few days ago on LP.

    To me, these are the best recordings that Frank and Don Costa made together. Frank's singing and phrasing are outstanding here. Also, the lush strings sound so soothing and powerful at the same time. My favorite track from the recording sessions is As You Desire Me, which didn't make the original album. All the tracks are masterpieces!
    "Could start for the corner... turn up in Spain... why try to change me now..."

  6. #6
    I bought "Sinatra and Strings" during lunch on the day it was released. Wow! What a song selection. What's Frank going to do with them and how will it be with his new collaborator, Don Costa? It would be a few hours before I could play it and I was disappointed that there were only ten songs. All previous albums had at least 12 songs.

    I left work early, not easy because I was fairly new, picked up a girl I was dating and we played the album. Great experience - Sinatra at the top of his form and then some. Costa's arrangements - big but not overblown. I still feel it's Costa's best work. We must have played it five times in a row. Then and now my favorite tracks are Come Rain or Come Shine and Night and Day but each song, in its own way, is brilliant. Decades later I learned that Sinatra had sent an advance copy of Come Rain or Come Shine to the song's composer, Harold Arlen, with a note telling him to PLAY IT LOUD. Amen.

    In '65 when Frank Sinatra Junior's discography was published with the "Man and His Music" double LP, I learned that there were two more songs recorded for the album. Finally I heard them when they were released, first on the Japanese LP reissue, then on the early 90's CD. They belong although I think of As You Desire Me as a song more suited for a female singer but Frank made it his own. It's an annoyance that Reprise deleted the songs from their Entertainer of the Century reissue of the CD.

    Dad wrote that on all of the dubs he sent out to friends and family.

  8. #8
    The utter beauty of "stardust" from the Strings album is your Father and the Legend I listen to at his finest.

    Im still "new" here Nancy, and I write as I find, I often come across harsher than I mean it to, but I share , I think, the ethos of this site; ie your Father was the greatest performer and singer that ever lived. "strings" confirms that.

  9. Please don't misunderstand what I wrote; I was agreeing with you!

  10. #10
    Soz I meant in my other replies; I mean in this great site theres an enormous difference of opinion, (lifes boring if we all agree) but we're all bonded by FS.

  11. I'll probably move this side bar discussion from this particular thread but I know what you mean, Nick. We are a microcosm of society at large here on our site and yes, we have different opinions, and yes, Frank is our mentor emeritus. We are all here because of him and his brilliant legacy.

  12. #12
    Totally. None of us would chat, be it on the internet or in person, except by chance, if we didnt have absolute love of Franks music in common.
    I do love that as a common bond though. Its rare.

    I know it must be different for you; you loved the man as a great Father, as well as being forced to share him with the public and press, but you made a great career of your own. I just see this site as a good kicking around of ideas of like minded pro Frank people with your stewardship and Im damn grateful to meet like minded people.