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Thread: THE V-DISCS: 1943-1947 (Columbia/Legacy) 1994 and 1998 

  1. #1

    THE V-DISCS: 1943-1947 (Columbia/Legacy) 1994 and 1998

    Columbia Legacy 2 CD Deluxe Boxset w/Book

    2nd Edition 1998 Double CD Set

    A unique collection features Frank Sinatra with Orchestra when no commercial studio recordings with musicians were undertaken due to industrial action. These tracks - test recordings, rehearsals, radio broadcasts and studio takes - were distributed to members of the U.S. Army & Navy during World War 2, and were never commercially available. Unreleased tracks are noted.

    Mastered from extant Original 12" 78rpm records - masters were destroyed.

    Monaural Recordings

    Last edited by Robert; 02-28-2014 at 05:10 PM. Reason: Thanks to AndrewT for providing an image that shows the difference between the long box and jewel pack versions

  2. #2
    DISC 1:
    1. I Only Have Eyes For You
    2. Kiss Me Again
    3. Hot Time In The Town Of Berlin, (There'll Be A)
    4. Music Stopped, The
    5. I Couldn't Sleep A Wink Last Night
    6. Way You Look Tonight, The
    7. I'll Be Around
    8. You've Got A Hold On Me
    9. Lovely Way To Spend An Evening, A
    10. She's Funny That Way, (I Got A Woman Crazy For Me)
    11. Speak Low
    12. Close To You
    13. My Shining Hour
    14. Long Ago And Far Away
    15. Some Other Time
    16. Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are
    17. Put Your Dreams Away (For Another Day)
    18. And Then You Kissed Me
    19. All The Things You Are
    20. All Of Me
    21. Nancy (With The Laughing Face)
    22. Mighty Lak' A Rose
    23. Falling In Love With Love
    24. Cradle Song (Brahms' Lullaby)
    25. I'll Follow My Secret Heart
    26. There's No You
    27. Someone To Watch Over Me
    DISC 2:
    1. Let Me Love You Tonight
    2. Just Close Your Eyes
    3. If You Are But A Dream - (prev. unreleased)
    4. Strange Music - (previously unreleased)
    5. Cradle Song (Brahms' Lullaby) - (previously unreleased)
    6. Dick Haymes, Dick Todd And Como - (previously unreleased)
    7. None But The Lonely Heart
    8. Ol' Man River
    9. Homesick, That's All
    10. The Night Is Young And You're So Beautiful (duet with Dinah Shore)
    11. Aren't You Glad You're You
    12. You Brought A New Kind Of Love To Me
    13. I'll Never Smile Again - (with Tommy Dorsey/The Pied Pipers)
    14. Without A Song
    15. Was The Last Time I Saw You (The Last Time) - (previously unreleased)
    16. Don't Forget Tonight Tomorrow - (previously unreleased, with The Pied Pipers)
    17. Oh! What It Seemed To Be
    18. Over The Rainbow
    19. Where Is My Bess
    20. My Romance - (with Dinah Shore)
    21. Song Is You, The
    22. I Fall In Love With You Ev'ry Day
    23. They Say It's Wonderful
    24. You Are Too Beautiful
    25. Come Rain Or Come Shine
    26. Stormy Weather

  3. #3


    The mastering of the extant 78 RPM V-discs is quite remarkable. There is clearly a lot of musical information deep within the 78 RPM grooves, and the smoothness of sound is to my ears extraordinary. The performances themselves are of great interest. If one needs an introduction to the sound of Frank Sinatra during the World War II years, this is an excellent way to start. Virtually every track has its own interest. For example, the version of "Nancy" heard here is taken at an unusually relaxed tempo. Several of the tracks also demonstrate the young Sinatra hitting some high notes that are surprising, to say the least.

    There are many hidden gems in this collection. "Close to You," "My Shining Hour" and "There's No You" are remarkably similar in style to the performances that Frank Sinatra carried with him many years later. There is an early "Ol' Man River" that also demonstrates the young Sinatra's early mastery of the Kern-Hammerstein epic. I have never before heard Frank Sinatra execute the song, "Was the Last Time I Saw You the Last Time," a tune that Margaret Whiting made popular during the very first years of the Capitol label.

    If you can still find this title, I highly recommend it. You cannot go wrong. I wonder if Chuck Granata was instrumental in the remastering of these tracks. They prove that high fidelity recording techniques have been with us since the creation of the eletric microphone. Bravo for a job very well done.

    Best regards,

    Russell Kishi
    Glendale, California

  4. #4

    My "V" discs?

    I listed my two ORIGINAL "V" discs in the "Frank's Recodings"
    section a while ago.
    They must be rare then?
    On one of them, Bing is on one side, Frank the other!

  5. #5


    A closer look at the very comprehsive booklet that accompanies these CDs reveals the name of Chuck Granata. I should have known. The sound on these discs is everything anyone could ever want. What I find so impressive is the pure resolution from the string sections. Everyone knows that Axel Stordahl's work with Frank Sinatra was so heavily dependent upon the string sections. The purity of tone on every track here is striking. There is a very satisfying resolution that includes not just the sound of strings being played, but the interaction of strings with the wooden bodies of the instruments. You really get a complete picture of the string playing on these discs, as well as a great perspective on Frank Sinatra fronting the orchestra. Great.

    Best regards,

    Russell Kishi
    Glendale, California

  6. Hello Russell,

    Thanks for your nice compliments on the V-Disc package. Much of the credit for the entire production must be shared with Didier Deutsch (whom I work very closely with on these projects), and our engineers at Sony Music. The engineers are the real experts at transferring and sonically remastering these vintage sources - Didier and I simply help steer the ship (successfully, most of the time, with a few unintentional slip-ups here and there, unfortunately.)

    In any case, the V-Disc package does sound pretty decent, considering the source material we had to work with in 1994. Fortunately, the V-Discs themselves were made of a plastic material called "Formvar," which made them much like a modern LP. The use of plastic made the surface noise less intrusive than it would be had the V-Discs all been pressed on standard "shellac" like other 78-RPM discs.

    Many of the V-Discs we used came from the Library of Congress collection, - not always in the best of shape - and were transferred to digital by their engineers. If we (a) had the disc sources we now have (in our private collections) and (b) the ability to transfer the LOC discs at Sony Music with our best technology, we could greatly improve the sound of the V-Disc package. Better yet, if we had a full collection of the ORIGINAL masters - most of which were destroyed by the U. S. Government in the 1940s - we could make them sound like true high-fidelity recordings. For example, I have the original glass masters of "There''l Be A Hot Time in the Town of Berlin" and a couple of other V-Disc songs (given to me by the recording engineer before he died), and they sound MAGNIFICENT. It is sad that most of the original glass and aluminum discs that the V-Discs came from were destroyed...

    By the way, one of the Discs is labeled "Poinciana - for V-Disc." It is from an undated radio show. It never made it onto a real V-Disc...

    Chuck Granata

  7. #7
    Chuck: Any update on your "Radio Years" project? Best, Ron.

  8. #8


    I have had the opportunity to hear several original V-Discs made by Glenn Milller and the Army Air Force band. They were not in the best of conditioin, but it does seem to me that the combination of 78 rpm speed and the materials used for the discs themselves created a whole new dynamic, if you will, beyond any conventional 78 rpm platter. The grooves cut at 78 rpm are mighty deep, and there is without doubt a wealth of genuine musical information contained ih those groove walls. Extracting the information is another matter. I have not heard the same overall smoothness in the Miller discs that I have enjoyed on the Sinatra discs. I must say, however, that some of the bass drum whacks on these Miller discs can be truly astonishing in their impact. The 78 rpm format must have something to do with that.

    HOWEVER, some of the Miller AAF material was captured on glass discs, and I agree with Chuck, there is definitely something wonderful in this format. The performances are both exceptionally smooth and dynamic. At times, the Miller AAF V-discs sound just a touch over-agressive at the frequency extremes. Mind you, this is really nit-picking. I especially enjoy the restorations RCA and BMG have performed with most of the Miller AAF material that has been released in the last several years, including the "SECRET BROADCASTS" AND "LOST RECORDINGS."

    By far the best sound I have heard, however, is that captured in the restoration of the Sinatra V-discs. I will say it again. If someone wants to learn about the Frank Sinatra vocal style during the World War II years, these discs are indispensable.

    Best regards,

    Russell Kishi
    Glendale, California

  9. Russ,

    A little more minutiae...

    The 78-RPM grooves are deep, and wide too. BUT...we must remember that the players of the era definitely chiseled the hell out of those grooves! Nowadays, it's sometimes difficult to find a "sweet" spot for a stylus to rest in a well-worn groove. The availability of a variety of stylus shapes and sizes has made it possible to experiment with each disc, and select just the right size and shape styli that works best for the groove conditions of that particular record. If you're lucky, there isn't damage way down to the bottom of the groove, and you can extract some dynamic - and quiet - material from there.

    On one of our recent Legacy CDs (I think it is "Essential"), we used an alternate take of "The House I Live In" that is appreciably better sonically than any previous issue. The original take was well worn, and we just could not get a clean, undistorted transfer. Even the alternate take was noisy and distorted, leading us to believe that it was the cutter at the original session that was bad. In the end, we used the virtually pristine alternate, and a conical stylus riding just one groove wall, and the difference was like night and day (pun intended!) You might notice that the same CD - "Essential" - contains the best transfer yet of "Put Your Dreams Away" - another notoriously difficult recording to remaster because of inherent flaws in the session disc. For this, we only had the master take available, but with a lot of experimentation, we found a styli/groove wall combination that definitely brought the noise level down, and previously unheard musical nuances up.

    Chuck Granata

  10. #10


    I have always wondered what modern pickups are most capable of faithfully tracking these 78 rpm grooves. I believe the overall sound I have heard on the Glenn Miller AAF V-discs was in part due to the difficulty in obtaining a 100 per cent accurate tracing of their grooves. Without doubt, many of the discs I have heard were victims of less than ideal playback. The distortion quotient was quite high on some individual tracks, leading me to believe they had been compromised in original use. But at their best, the combination of 78 rpm speed and vinyl discs seems quite a fine medium to me. I will say it again -- the sound obtained on these Sinatra V-discs is the best I have ever heard from the era.

    Thanks, Chuckster, for your insights.

    Best regards,

    Russell Kishi
    Glendale, California

  11. #11

    V-Discs Release Question

    I tired to do a search on this site but came up empty... Please forgive me if this is in the wrong area or has been asked before.

    I've been seeing a three disc set called the THE REAL COMPLETE V-DISCS.

    Is this accurate? Does anyone have any info on this set?

    Please advise...


  12. #12
    Hello Glenn!

    Strange, I asked this about a week ago on a different board. So here's the answer: First of all, the 3 disk set is an unauthorized bootleg. The Sony 2 disk set includes all V-Disks, except the ones on the 12 CD Columbia set. The unauthorized set features all of the V-disks (including those of the Columbia Years set) minus a Christmas V-disk.

    Hope this helps.

    Best regards,.

    Stefan Huber

  13. #13

    Perfect! That's all I needed to know.

    I have the V-Discs 2 CD Set and the Columbia 12.

    Glad this forum is here to help prevent making the wrong move.

    Many thanks!


  14. #14


    I also have the 2 cd version and the Complete Columbia Recordings. Which tracks on the Columbia set are the "Columbia 12"? Thanks.


  15. #15

    You got me!

    A closer examination will have to be done.

    Perhaps Bernhard can tell us.

    warm regards,


  16. #16
    Hi Joe,

    when Sinatra was issuing music for the V-Disc-programme, the songs of his that appeared (or were set to appear) on V-Discs came from five different sources:

    1) Commercial studio recordings Sinatra had made earlier with Tommy Dorsey for the RCA Victor label or solo for the RCA-Bluebird label.
    2) Commercial studio recordings made for the Columbia label which were issued there, but also mastered for V-Disc release.
    3) Recordings made at "dress rehearsals" for Sinatra's radio shows.
    4) Recordings made for the actual broadcasts of Sinatra's radio shows.
    5) Recordings made at special studio sessions only for V-Disc.

    The Columbia/Legacy 2-CD-set includes ALL recordings of type 3, 4 and 5 (including a few tracks that in the 40s, while planned for V-Disc, actually were never appeared on V-Disc, seeing their first release on the 2 CD set).
    All the recordings of type 2 it leaves out, because all those tracks had already been included on the Columbia/Legacy 12-CD-Set (the Blue Box).
    The few recordings of type 1 it leaves out, because all those tracks had already been included on the RCA 5-CD-Box "The Song Is You" with the complete FS-Dorsey recordings.

    There also is one exception in type 3 - a dress rehearsal V-Disc recording of a Christmas songs medley Sinatra recorded in early December 1945, which is not on the Columbia/Legacy 2-CD V-Disc set. That one, however, had been issued by Columbia/Legacy already, it's on the "Christmas Songs By Sinatra" release.

    The so-called "Real Complete V-Discs" 3-CD-set was issued on a Spanish label, taking advantage of the fact that all Sinatra recordings 1943-1952 are now out of copyright in Europe (where copyright generally expires after 50 years).
    They simply "threw together" all tracks from the 2-CD-V Disc set plus those commercial studio tracks from the Blue Box and the RCA set that were also issued as V-Discs. But they missed the 1945 Christmas V-disc! So adding to the overall cheapo package and missing proper documentary liner notes, this "real complete" 3-CD-set isn't really complete.


  17. #17
    Sinatra commercial studio recordings which where also released (or mastered for an intended release) on V-Disc, listing them chronologically by recording date:

    RCA-Victor/RCA-Bluebird recordings (all on the RCA 5 CD set):
    Without A Song (20.1.1941)
    Do I Worry (7.2.1941)
    Blue Skies (15.7.1941)
    The Sunshine Of Your Smile (26.9.1941)
    Night And Day (19.1.1942)
    The Song Is You (19.1.1942)
    The Night We Called It A Day (19.1.1942)
    The Lamplighter's Serenade (19.1.1942)
    Somewhere A Voice Is Calling (19.3.1942)
    In The Blue Of Eving (17.6.1942)

    Columbia recordings (all on Columbia/Legacy 12 CD Box):
    If You Are But A Dream (14.11.1944)
    Saturday Night (14.11.1944)
    What Makes The Sunset (1.12.1944)
    I Begged Her (1.12.1944)
    The Charm Of You (3.12.1944)
    When Your Lover Has Gone (19.12.1944)
    You'll Never Walk Alone (1.5.1945)
    Over The Rainbow (1.5.1945)
    Stars In Your Eyes (24.5.1945)
    My Shawl (24.5.1945)
    You Go To my Head (30.7.1945)
    Someone To Watch Over Me (30.7.1945)
    I Don't Know Why (30.7.1945)
    These Foolish Things (30..1945)
    Old School Teacher (15.11.1945)
    I Have But One Heart (30.11.1945)
    My Romance (7.11.1946)
    Something Old, Something New (24.2.1946)
    Begin The Beguine (24.2.1946)
    That Old Black Magic (10.3.1946)
    The Girl That I Marry (10.3.1946)
    Jingle Bells (8.8.1946)
    Lost In The Stars (8.8.1946)
    Sweet Lorraine (17.12.1946)
    The Nearness Of You (11.8.1947)
    One For My Baby (11.8.1947)
    That Old Feeling (11.8.1947)
    Ever Homeward (8.12.1947)
    Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (28.12.1947)
    Sunflower (6.12.1948)

    Columbia recordings NOT on 12-CD-Box:
    Soliloquy (7.4.1946) - on Columbia/Legacy "Sings Rodgers & Hammerstein"

    I typed together this list on the spot now - so there might be typos and perhaps omissions (I hope not).

    One final tidbid: Sometimes, the V-disc-releases of these songs conatined special short spoken intro messages by Sinatra. These have in most cases *not* been reproduced on the CD issues.


  18. #18
    Another recent thread where discussion goes about those V-Discs that are not included on this set, because they were made from commercial studio recordings already released on other sets, can be found here:


  19. #19

    Merging task

    Finally, may I suggest this here thread to be merged with the thread for the V-Disc 2-CD set in the "Frank Sinatra Recordings" section, I've already bumped up the latter there. Merging would make it easier to keep the info together at one place.


  20. #20
    Is there anyone who knows more than Bernhard???

    You are THE MAN!!!!

    As always your expertise and informative explainations are just the best!!!

    Many thanks!