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Thread: Frank Sinatra: Album of the Month #25 (Sept 2009) "The Voice Of Frank Sinatra"

  1. #1

    Frank Sinatra: Album of the Month #25 (Sept 2009) "The Voice Of Frank Sinatra"

    Calling Frank Sinatra a pioneer of concept albums is accurate. But his innovation in that area began well before his Capitol concept masterpieces. "The Voice of Frank Sinatra" on Columbia is really his first concept album made before the term had been coined. It was then referred to as a "theme album." It was the number one selling album when released in 1946.

    The original 8 recordings are all there as are the 10 bonus tracks. They all fit the warm chamber music concept. No recordings of American standards are more tender, sensitive and heartfelt than these, not only in the singing, but in Axel Stordahl's arrangements as well, clearly different in approach and instrumentation from all their other work together which began in 1940 when they were both with Dorsey and continued through the Columbia period (1943-1952) with a 1961 reunion for Frank's final Capitol album, "Point of No Return."

    Sinatra's and Stordahl's other Columbia collaborations generally featured a much larger orchestra or big band. This is his first chamber style work. "Close to You" followed a decade later and two decades later he recorded with Antonio Carlos Jobim where he sang almost as softly. The three albums go well together for an extended period of some of the most romantic music ever recorded.

    This is not the same album as the green cover album of the same name that has been around on 45 RPM, LP, cassette and CD since the '50's. "The Voice of Frank Sinatra" (Columbia Legacy CS 62100) has a blue cover with a smiling Frank wearing a red bow tie.




    Charles Granata and Didier Deutsch beautifuly remastered all the tracks as they did with other Columbia Legacy Sinatra CD's. Another plus is the 20 page booklet with Granata's essay and many photographs from the period. Unfortunately the CD is out of print. I just checked and the the CD is available on Amazon for as low as $11.99 or on MP3 for $9.99.

    Today most Sinatra fans prefer the singing of Frank Sinatra on Capitol and Reprise but don't short change yourself by ignoring such as "The Voice of Frank Sinatra." Unlike much of the music of the '40's, it holds up beautifully. Yes, when Nancy was a tot and and before the fedora, Frank was the best singer around then, too.

    In looking over some previous "Album of the Month" threads, I see that they listed the tracks on the albums. I didn't do that so several days later, here they are copied and pasted from my post on page 3 of this thread as was suggested by Nancy.

    The first 8 tracks are from the original 1945 "Voice" sessions.
    1. You Go to My Head (re-recorded in '60 for Nice 'n Easy.
    2. Someone to Watch Over Me (re-recorded in '54 and a bonus track
    on Nice 'n Easy.
    3. These Foolish Things (re-recorded in '61 for Point of No Return)
    4. Why Shouldn't I?
    5. I Don't Know Why
    6. Try a Little Tenderness (re-recorded in '60 for Nice 'n Easy)
    7. A Ghost of a Chance (re-recorded in '59 for No One Cares)
    8. Paradise

    Tracks 9 - 17 recorded in 1947
    9. Mamselle (re-recorded in 60 for Nice 'n Easy)
    10. That Old Feeling (re-recorded in '60 for Nice 'n Easy)
    11. If I Had You (re-recorded in '56 for A Swingin' Affair and in '62 for
    Great Songs from Great Britain)
    12. The Nearness of You (re-recorded in '60 to be title song of
    what became Nice 'n Easy, added to the CD as bonus track.
    13. Spring Is Here (re-recorded in '58 for Only the Lonely)
    14. Fools Rush In (recorded first with Dorsey in '40, re-recorded in
    '60 for Nice 'n Easy)
    15. When You Awake
    16. It Never Entered My Mind (re-recorded in '55 for Wee Small Hours
    17. Always (recorded first in '46, re-recorded in '60 for Swingin'
    Session
    Track 18 (Previously unreleased alternate take)
    18. A Ghost of a Chance (same song at same session as track 7,
    runs 21 seconds longer)

    Well known musicians on the sessions include George Van Eps (guitar), Mitch Miller (oboe), Heinie Beau (saxophone), Felix Slatkin (violin) Zeke Zarchy (trumpet), Trigger Alpert (Bass). Heinie Beau was also the ghost arranger for quite a few Sinatra records on Columbia, Capitol and Reprise.

  2. Oh, how I love this album. Thank you for choosing it for Album of the Month, Edwin. A perfect choice.

  3. #3
    Guest


    Thread in Frank's Recordings (combined with 1955 LP, The Voice):


    See also this post from three years ago: 60th Anniversary

  4. #4
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Edwin View Post
    I just checked and the the CD is available on Amazon
    Amazon links:


  5. #5
    Thanks Nancy, yes I love this album too. As I posted years ago, it's one of my top five. Nancy is that a new avatar?

    The green cover album called "The Voice" that I referred to in my post above is the one Columbia issued in 1955 with young Frank in a tan jacket, yellow sweater, open collar white shirt. At the time it was a good retrospective collection of Frank's Columbia work, including a variety of the kind of recordings Frank made at Columbia. It was around for 50 years or so in various forms. It has nothing to do with this Columbia Legacy CD of the original concept album.

  6. #6
    Wow, itīs time to listen this album again.
    Great choice Edwin.
    S V Peluzio Jr

  7. I love this album too. Great choice. I have this album framed and hanging in my office at home.


  8. #8
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Gregory View Post
    I have this album framed and hanging in my office at home.
    That's the wrong one, Greg. As Edwin stated above, it has nothing to do with the album under discussion, despite the similar titles and that they do share some tracks. See also my earlier posts on the subject here and here.

  9. #9
    Guest
    Did I read somewhere that the album "The Voice Of Frank Sinatra" was also the FIRST LP by any artist ever to be recorded on vinyl....

    I hope it's not mentioned in this thread and I've missed it..

  10. #10
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Tina View Post
    Did I read somewhere-I hope it's not mentioned in this thread and I've missed it..- that the album "The Voice Of Frank Sinatra" was also the FIRST LP by any artist ever to be recorded on vinyl....
    Yes, from the post 60th Anniversary referenced above:

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    When Columbia introduced long-playing technology two years later, this would become the FIRST released LP album (by any artist). It was originally issued as a 10" LP, with four songs on each side, on June 28, 1948 (Columbia # CL 6001). It was later released as a 7" EP set, with two songs on each side of two records, on February 4, 1952 (Columbia # B-112).

  11. #11
    Guest
    Thanks Bob, thought I had... good ol' Frank.

  12. Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    That's the wrong one, Greg. As Edwin stated above, it has nothing to do with the album under discussion, despite the similar titles and that they do share some tracks. See also my earlier posts on the subject here and here.
    Ah. Thank you for the correction Bob. But I still like it.

  13. #13

    Smile I , too, want to thank you, Edwin,

    I have choosen it some time ago. I love it!
    LEATRICE (LEE) Fort Myers, Florida, USA
    Sinatra, Sinatra,Sinatra! Pray for Robin!

  14. #14

    What an Album

    I was familiar with the original 8 tracks for this album as they were on the Big Blue Box before realizing that they made up The Voice. Sinatra sang a lot of great things with Columbia, but some of my favorites are right here on this album. A few months ago, I downloaded the entire album. Some of these numbers would be recorded later, and also performed in concerts later in Sinatra's career. But others, like I Don't Know Why, Why Shouldn't I, and Paradise were pretty rare.

    Speaking of those original 8 tracks, it's really impressive that these were recorded over the course of only two sessions (7/30/1945 and 12/7/1945). Interestingly, Mitch Miller was present at the December session, and was playing the obeo. I thought he did a terrific job with these parts.

    Edwin - thanks so much for making this the Album of the Month. This album deserves every bit of attention possible. For everyone else on this board: if you don't have these tracks yet (either via CD or MP3), please try to change that. I'm not sure if this is an album to introduce a new listener to Sinatra, but if you already have a reasonable exposure to his art, then you simply need to have this.
    Tim

    But then, this monday morning quarterback never lost a game...

  15. #15
    Guest
    Love this recording! I recently got a new copy of the Columbia/Legacy CD. Got it thru Amazon and it sure wasn't 50 bucks like it's going for now. Wonderful to see all the original album artwork and Chuck Granata's notes are always fascinating to me.

    There's some sweet guitar playing by George Van Epps. I'm really hooked on this period of Frank's singing. Perfect for late night listening.

  16. #16

    Excellent Choice, Edwin

    "The Voice Of Frank Sinatra" contains some of Axel's most "delicate" arrangements. Try to imagine "Tenderness," "These Foolish Things" and "Ghost" minus the vocal -- they have a tender, beautiful, reverential sound that's similar to the loveliest chamber music pieces! When you add Frank's gorgeous tones to those orchestrations the total effect is staggering!

    Something you must say about Mitch Miller -- one of SinatraLand's "villains" -- he is a world class oboist!

    A truly beautiful album!
    Stanley

  17. one of SinatraLand's "villains" -
    That's not true.

  18. #18
    I do not have that album, but it looks like a great one. I wish I did!
    "It's the moment that you think you can't, you discover that you can"

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Nancy View Post
    That's not true.
    Well, a lot of people certainly do demonize Miller. Perhaps Mitch simply had the misfortune of being around at a time when Frank's quality material wasn't selling. I believe that's the way that Miller, himself, justified his actions. Friedwald doesn't seem to buy that explanation.

    I'd be interested to hear more opinions about Mitch Miller.

    Now, about THIS ALBUM. It is glorious. Columbia is possibly the most unjustly ignored time of FS recordings, and Axel is probably the most underrated arranger. To me Stordahl is second only to Riddle. In any case, Francis had it from DAY ONE. The Voice of Frank Sinatra was a work of genius. It's so strange to look back and see the bobby soxers going nuts over what I'd consider to be high art. It's odd for me to be going berserk along with these young girls. I guess it just goes to show how perfectly Sinatra and Stordahl blended high art and pop.

  20. #20
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Harley View Post
    I'd be interested to hear more opinions about Mitch Miller.
    See the thread, Mama Will Bark. For example:

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    I don't think it's fair or accurate to characterize Mitch Miller as untalented. He was an accomplished classical and session musician (oboe and English horn) before becoming A&R head of Columbia Records in 1950. While we (along with Frank Sinatra) may not approve of his choice of material, his brand of pop music was embraced by the buying public, and he was incredibly successful in launching the careers of many artists.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nancy View Post
    Frank did indeed need Mitch, or somebody else, to help him catch up with the music business. Don't forget that the label was trying to help by putting him with a highly succesful producer. Mitch did his best for Dad but it just didn't work out.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    I don't think he deserves full blame for Frank's lack of success in the later days at Columbia. There were many factors, and the public was just not receptive.

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