Sunday, February 28, 2010
Here is the last post for The February of Frank! As I stated yesterday, time got the best of me this month and as a result, I still have a lot of Sinatra items that didn't make it to the World of Wonder. So, keep on the lookout for those throughout the rest of the year. For now, here is the final part of the "Inside Sinatra" series. It's titled, "Inside September" and focuses on the recording sessions for the album, "September of My Years". The release of that album mixed with the releases of A Man and His Music and Strangers in the Night marked a surge of popularity in Sinatra's music. Both September of My Years and A Man and His Music won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Sinatra's performance of "It Was a Very Good Year" won the Grammy Award for Best Vocal Performance at the Grammy Awards of 1966. Arranger Gordon Jenkins was awarded the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement for the same song. This was the first album Sinatra and Jenkins had recorded together since 1959's No One Cares. Jekins and Sinatra would next work together on the 1980 album Trilogy: Past Present Future.
CBS-TV cameras were rolling the night Sinatra recorded "It Was A Very Good Year". The edited result was included in a Walter Cronkite CBS News special about the singer's 50th birthday, broadcast on November 16, 1965. Here is "Inside September". Enjoy!
Frank Sinatra-Inside September
Here's just a snippet of that Cronkite special for your viewing pleasure.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
With only two days left in The February of Frank, I have seem to almost run out of time in getting posts up. This month was a little tricky in that I wasn't as prepared as I normally am. It took me a bit longer to get things digitized and I found myself desperately trying to keep up with ever changing calendar. Add to all of that my taking care of my new son and becoming increasingly busy in my gigs at night and you have a strong case for trying to do too many things at once. However, none of you wish to hear my sob stories so I'll just say that as much as you've seen shared here during The February of Frank, it's nothing compared to what I still have left to share with you from my gigantic Sinatra collection. I guess I have to keep it in storage until the next time I can share a Sinatra goody with you. Until then, I am closing out the month with the final two volumes of "Inside Sinatra". Today we have "Inside Strings". "Sinatra and Strings" was originally released in 1962 and is one of the most critically-acclaimed works of Sinatra's entire Reprise period. It was Sinatra's first album with arranger Don Costa. "Sinatra and Strings" gave us some new takes on old songs that Frank had already recorded in the past. It would be his third recording of "Night and Day," his second recording of "Stardust" and his second recording of "All or Nothing At All" (Sinatra recorded the third and final version, the more commonly known swinging rendition, four years later for "Strangers in the Night"). The Reprise era, though not as popular as his Capitol era, is still considered to be a great time for Sinatra recordings and these sessions prove that the man was in full voice and power. Here is "Inside Strings". Check back tomorrow for the last post and the last volume of "Inside Sinatra". Until then, enjoy!
Frank Sinatra-Inside Strings
Friday, February 26, 2010
Amongst the "unofficial" albums in my father's record collection is one entitled "The Definitive Sinatra". It's a collection of unreleased songs that were performed live on radio and in television during the 1950s. The quality is pretty good considering the source material and the record company (known as Chairman Records) went out of their way to let you know that "no echo or stereo effect was added to these recordings". An obvious jab at the Lucky Strike recordings that I shared with you earlier this month which had a stereo effect added. These recordings are great and not only are they performances that weren't released but they are also songs that Sinatra never recorded in a studio setting. Here for you now is "The Definitive Sinatra". One last note: there is one song from the original lp that I have failed to include. I have no idea where it went. It was there when I ripped it. Somewhere along the way, it was deleted from my computer. Since I am currently in LA and not in CT, I have no access to the original LP to rip that song. I promise that when I return next week I will re-rip the song and post it. Sorry.
The Definitive Sinatra
Thursday, February 25, 2010
On December 12, 1957, a huge contingent of performers gathered at the Villa Capri in LA (a restaurant owned by Sinatra) and wished the Chairman of the Board a 42nd Birthday by way of a roast! The guest list featured: Sinatra, Dean Martin, Eddie Fisher, Vic Damone, Bing Crosby, Jack Benny, James Cagney, and others. A little bit more on the raunchy side of the Celebrity Roasts, this features some great bits as well as some great singing and entertaining. This is a must own for any Sinatra collector! Listen in on the party as we feature "Sinatra's 42nd Birthday Party"! Enjoy!
Frank Sinatra's 42nd Birthday Party
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Here is the third and final volume of "Sinatra Live In Italy". This time around, you get three great entertainers for the price of one! Recorded in Milano on April 6, 1989, this concert features not only Frank but Liza Minnelli and Samy Davis, Jr. as well! And out of the three volumes of the Italy recordings, this one is the best. One of the highlights is an incredible medley of some of Frank's biggest hits that seems to go on forever! You will love this one! Here is "Sinatra Live In Italy Volume III". Enjoy!
Frank Sinatra-Live In Italy Volume 3
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
A few posts back, I shared the first volume of "From The Vaults" which contained "lost" tracks from the recording sessions of the classic Capitol albums. As I stated there, "From The Vaults" was a privately circulated release from the mid 90s and only 1000 copies were originally issued. Along with that first volume was a second volume which featured mostly out-takes from the same recording sessions from 1955 to 1960 with additional tracks from a BBC broadcasted concert in 1953 and songs from the short lived "Frank Sinatra Show" that aired from 1957 to 1958. Trying to find a copy of this album can be quite pricey. But well worth it when you consider that the sound quality on the disc is absoutely masterful. This collection, much like the "Inside Sinatra" box set, shows Sinatra in complete control of his recording sessions. Here is "From The Vaults, Volume 2". Enjoy!
Frank Sinatra-From The Vaults Volume 2
Monday, February 22, 2010
Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin were extremely close as friends and were both great admirers of each others work. They worked together for many years in films and as part of the Rat Pack. Throughout their careers, they would team up numerous times as a performing duo and sometimes adding other perfromers such as Liza Minelli to turn their act into a trio. They were known for their comic banter as well as for their singing and to see one of these performances would have been a pleasure. Unfortunately I was far too young at the time to have witnessed such a treasure of the entertainment world. But thanks to the fine art of bootleg recordings, I can witness some of this grandeur from afar. Here for you is one of those many nights when these greats shared a stage. It's a complete concert from June 10, 1977 in Chicago, Ill. The place was The Sabre Room and the sound is superb! Here is "A Swingin' Nigh At The Sabre Room". Enjoy!
Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin-A Swingin' Night At THe Sabre Room
Sunday, February 21, 2010
"I Remember Tommy" was Frank Sinatra's affectionate tribute to Tommy Dorsey, the legendary bandleader who helped elevate him to stardom. Arranged by Sy Oliver, who also gained attention through Dorsey, the album contains a number of songs that were part of the Sinatra/Dorsey repertoire, with new arrangements that highlight Sinatra's vocal more than the originals. The album was huge amongst fans of both Ol' Blue Eyes and of Dorsey. The sessions for this album are featured in this, the next installment of the "Inside Sinatra" series. I have often wondered why Frank didn't try to scour up a lot of the old members of the Dorsey band to do this album. It would have been great to hear Buddy Rich playing the drums behind the crooner. Anyway, here is "Inside Tommy". Enjoy!
Frank Sinatra-Inside Tommy
Saturday, February 20, 2010
On February 15, 1945, Frank appeared on an episode of the Armed Forces Radio Network's "Command Performance". Frank had appeared on the show many times and with many other great stars of the day, but this particular broadcast was special. The radio show presented "Dick Tracy In B Flat," or "For Goodness Sakes, Isn't He Ever Going To Marry Tess Trueheart?" Billed as "the world's first comic strip operetta", it featured a roster of stars bigger than any other radio show or film at the time. It starred Bing Crosby as Dick Tracy, Dinah Shore as Tess Trueheart, and Bob Hope as Flattop Jones. Alongside them were Jerry Colonna as the police chief, Frank Morgan as Vitamin Flintheart, Jimmy Durante as The Mole, Judy Garland as Snowflake Falls, The Andrews Sisters as The Summer Sisters—May, June & July, Cass Daley as Gravel Gertie, Harry Von Zell as the narrator and the one and only Frank Sinatra as Shaky. Another odd fact about this show is that instead of the usual half hour running time of "Command Performance", this show was extended to an hour. The show was a hit and has become one of the golden moments of the radio era but for some unknown reason was never rerun. Here at the World of Wonder, we present the original broadcast for you in its entirety. Here is "Dick Tracy in B Flat". Enjoy!
Dick Tracy In B Flat or For Goodness Sakes, Isn't He Ever Going To Marry Tess Trueheart?
Friday, February 19, 2010
Continuing on with the "unofficial" releases of Frank's performances from "Your Hit Parade" we have the next album in sequence. The title of the album is, yet again, "Frank Sinatra" and features ten more songs that Frank crooned his way through during those historic broadcasts throughout the 40s. These are some nice arrangements and as with the last album, the sound quality is what you would expect from radio broadcasts of the 40s. I have tried to clean them up a little but the source material is rough and crackly even if my vinyl is not. Here is that album. Enjoy!
Frank Sinatra (CAMERON Records 5004)
Thursday, February 18, 2010
After yesterday's re-post of Sinatra's Duets, I thought it would be cool to do a feature on the Duets album from 1993. For those of you who don't know, this album was the last big firework in the Chairman's display. And what a firework it was! It was advertised as “The Recording Event of The Decade.” It features duets between Sinatra and other guest star singers from various genres; Sinatra personally chose the performers. Some of the performers appearing on the album were Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, Barbara Streisand, Bono, Anita Baker, Carly Simon, Tony Bennett and Gloria Estefan. The only problem in this whole "duets" album was that the songs were not originally recorded that way. In fact, the songs were recorded in their entirety by Frank first. After the songs were already recorded, that's when the "duet" partners came in and did their part. The actual "duets" were just the guest artists singing along to a pre-recorded track. Think of singing along to your favorite song and taping it on a tape recorder and you get the gist. It was because of the way this album was recorded that my father actually boycotted it. He felt that it was a sham. Sham or not, the album was a commercial success, selling over 3 million copies in the U.S and reaching #2 on the Billboard albums chart. Here for you now is not the completed Duets album but rather the recordings made by Frank before the "duet" partners were added. Here is "Frank Sinatra's Duets: Solo". Enjoy!
Here's the video for "I've Got You Under My Skin" that was a duet with Bono. They made no bones to cover up how they recorded the album by emphasizing it with the way they produced the video!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
We all know about the 1994 Duets album that Frank Sinatra put out. It was huge! It spawned a sequel and once again cemented Frank's place in pop music. It also spawned some great parodies on SNL and elsewhere. However, this album that I present to you now is also called Duets but it is drawn from performances of the 40s and 50s featuring Frank and others such as Louis Armstrong, Judy Garland, Doris Day, Yvonne DeCarlo, Lena Horne, Shirley Jones, Natalie Wood, Tony Bennett, George Burns, Jimmy Durante, Eddie Fisher, Van Johnson, Gene Kelly, Robert Mitchum, and Robert Merrill & Dean Martin. This comes from my father's huge collection of Sinatra records. This "unofficial release" came out in 1984 (10 years prior to the other Duets). These duets are from radio and television and believe it or not, they sound fantastic. Here is "The Frank Sinatra Duets". Enjoy!
The Frank Sinatra Duets
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Following the post from a few days back of Sinatra's concert with Red Norvo in Australia, 1959, we have another classic concert from the land down under. This time around we get to hear Frank in what many consider to be one of his best concerts, hands down. The date was December 2, 1961 at the Stadium in Sydney. It was the closing night of a three day engagement. From the moment he comes onto the stage until his exit, seventy five minutes and 23 songs later, Ol' Blue Eyes holds the audience in the palm of his hand! For years, a short, edited version of the concert circulated amongst bootleg collectors. Then, somehow, somewhere, the rest of the concert was discovered. Here for you is the complete show exactly as it was performed back in 1961. Here is "December Down Under". Enjoy!
Frank Sinatra-December Down Under (12/2/61)
Monday, February 15, 2010
Continuing on with the "Inside Sinatra" series, today we get a glimpse into the recording sessions for the classic album, Moonlight Sinatra. This album was released in 1966 and was worked around the theme that every song on the album had something to do with the moon. There was "Moonlight Becomes You", "I Wished On The Moon", "Moon Love", "Reaching For The Moon" and so on and so forth. The title of the album is a play on Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata". The orchestra was led by the great Nelson Riddle. Here are those recording sessions from November 29 and 30 of 1965. Here is "Inside Moonlight". Enjoy!
Frank Sinatra-Inside Moonlight
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Even though my wife and I are not big on Valentine's Day, we know that there are a lot of people who are and we respect that. I was going to let the holiday slide by without a mention but I figured I may as well tie it in to something with Sinatra. But what? Out-takes from "Songs For Swingin' Lovers" maybe? Well, in this day and age that has a whole new meaning so, no. But what? Then it hit me! My good friend, Kim Shattuck, from The Muffs and The Pandoras (and also from my single, "The Girl Named Female which you can download from I-Tunes, Amazon, E-Music and others) and her husband used a Frank Sinatra song as their wedding song. The song: Ring-A-Ding-Ding. So, as a public service to her and anyone else who has heard wedding bells in their lives, here is a whole album of the recording sessions for the classic, Reprise album, Ring-A-Ding-Ding! This is very cool! Happy Valentine's Day! Enjoy!
Frank Sinatra-More Ring-A-Ding-Ding
Saturday, February 13, 2010
When I was a kid, my father would bring home records on a regular basis. And not just any records, he usually brought home some really cool items that I have rarely ever seen since. Two of these were records entitled, simply, "Frank Sinatra". These were collections of Frank's appearances on the popular "Lucky Strike Hit Parade" radio show. Your Hit Parade was a popular radio program that began in 1935 on which a group of singers sang the most popular songs of the week, counting down to #1. Frank spent two stints as a regular performer on the show, first from February 1943 (just after he had begun his solo career) to December 1944, and again from September 1947 to May 1949. He wasn't always pleased with the way things were done. Truth be told, Frank was constantly complaining about the songs being too tacky and the tempos being too "old fashioned" and "rigid". This would become something of a crusade for Sinatra that would carry on into his later career. He would always turn away the type of songs that he was made to sing on "The Lucky Strike Hit Parade". As a result, the recordings of those shows were never given the green light to be released. That didn't stop a small, unofficial record company called CAMERON Records from putting out a series of these long-thought -to-be -lost recordings in the late 70s and early 80s. The sound quality is what you would expect from a 40s era radio broadcast but the performances are delivered with every touch of class that Sinatra gave all of his performances. Tacky and old fashioned, yes, but the voice is still there! Here is one of those Lucky Strike albums. BTW, only 8 of the 10 tracks on this album are from "The Hit Parade". "I'm in the Mood for Love" is actually from the "Songs by Sinatra Show", while "Long Ago and Far Away" is from the "Vimms Vitamins Show". Enjoy!
Frank Sinatra (CAMERON Records 5003)
Friday, February 12, 2010
As early as 1939, Frank had turned down an offer by Red Norvo and his then wife, Mildred Bailey, to join their orchestra as the male vocalist, because he had already signed with Harry James. However, their relationship continued to be a close one, symbolized by Bill Miller, who, before becoming Sinatra’s regular in 1951, had worked extensively with the Norvo Big Band. Finally, in 1959, the crooner and the mallet master joined forces for a brief concert tour that would bring them around the world. One of the stops on that infamous tour was in Melbourne, Australia. On March 31, the combo would perform two sold out shows to the people of Australia. A recording of both events was made by some unknown Australian. The tape of the first show circulated for years amongst Sinatra fans and bootleggers alike. Eventually, the recordings of both shows made it into the posession of Capitol who put out the legal release, "With the Red Norvo Quintet: Live in Australia, 1959" on the Blue Note label. (without much remastering being done to improve the sound, btw) The majority of that album's material, however, comes from the second show as opposed to the boot that consisted of the first show alone. Here is the original bootleg recording featuring the first show of that day in Melbourne. If you have the Capitol/Blue Note release, this makes a great companion to it. Here is "A Tour De Force". Enjoy!
Frank Sinatra-A Tour De Force
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Continuing on with The February of Frank, here is the second part of the "Sinatra In Italy" trilogy. This time around, we find Frank in Milano again but with a full orchestra backing him up. The John Flanagan Orchestra, directed by Bill Miller to be exact. The date of the show is September 27,1986 and the sound quality on this one is superb. The interesting thing about the "Italy" set is that the sound quality of the recordings gets better and better. Here is volume 2 of "Sinatra Live In Italy". Enjoy!
Frank Sinatra-Live In Italy Volume 2
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Following yesterday's post featuring a concert from Sinatra's great Capitol era of the late 50s comes today's "lost" tracks from the recording sessions of those albums. "From The Vaults" was a privately circulated release from the mid 90s and only 1000 copies were originally issued. The collection featured mostly out-takes from the Capitol recording sessions from 1955 to 1960 with two tracks from Frank's Reprise era starting in 1960. Trying to find a copy of this album can be quite pricey. But well worth it when you consider that the sound quality on the disc is absoutely masterful and the material includes alternate takes of Same Old Song and Dance, Weep They Will (Tony Bennett's favorite Sinatra recording) and What Is This Thing called Love, featuring a great clarinet solo by Mahlon Clark which was excised from the final release. This collection, much like the "Inside Sinatra" box set, shows Sinatra in complete control of his recording sessions. Here is "From The Vaults, Volume 1". Enjoy!
Frank Sinatra-From The Vaults Volume 1
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
The late 50s found Frank Sinatra releasing such classic albums as "Songs For Swingin' Lovers", "Swing Easy", "Close To You", and" A Swingin' Affair". This was at a time when releasing more than one album a year was normal. Nowadays, it is literally unheard of. Artists of today are lucky if they release an album every two years. The arranger and conductor at the helm of these albums was the great Nelson Riddle. Many people consider this era to be the best era of Sinatra's recorded work. When Sinatra took his act on the road for a quick west coast tour in the summer of 57, Riddle joined him. This was the only time in Frank's performing history when that would happen. And it was amazing! Luckily, one of those great concerts was caught on tape: a performance from June 9, 1957 in Seattle, WA. All of the classics can be found on this recording: You Make Me Feel So Young, The Lady Is A Tramp, One For My Baby, I've Got You Under My Skin, and fourteen other favorites. There is also a five minute monologue where Frank jokes about booze and dames. He is in a giddy mood on this evening, and had the material and the pipes to allow these songs to really cook. Here is "Frank Sinatra Live In Seattle". Enjoy!
Frank Sinatra-Seattle, June 9, 1957
Monday, February 08, 2010
On August 1, 1947, Frank Sinatra filled in for vacationing sportscaster Bill Stern, telling sports anecdotes in a 15-minute NBC radio show. Stern was best-known as the host of The Colgate Sports Newsreel and Bill Stern Sports which ran on NBC from 1937 through 1956. On these fifteen-minute shows he told tales of sports legends and strange occurrences which kept listeners eagerly waiting for the climax. Although some of his reports stretched the limits of credibility, no one doubted that Stern was a master storyteller who used emphasis, repetition, and pauses to perfection. Bill Stern was one of first sportscasters to be elected to the Radio Hall of Fame. On this particular day in history, Stern asked Ol Blue Eyes to take his place! Here is that broadcast!
The Bill Sterns Show With Frank Sinatra
Sunday, February 07, 2010
Since I screwed up and put up the wrong link on the first post of the "Inside Sinatra" set (btw, that link is now fixed), here is the second part of that set (which you may have already downloaded due to my error!). This time around we get to listen in on the sessions for the classic 1962 album, "Sinatra And Swingin' Brass". Recorded on April 10 and 11 of 1962, this was the first time Sinatra worked with arranger/composer Neal Hefti. The first night of the sessions Sinatra would record 6 of the 12 tracks from the finished album in just three hours and twenty five minutes! Hear what went down that night and the next when you take a listen to "Inside Brass". Enjoy!
Frank Sinatra-Inside Brass
Saturday, February 06, 2010
Sinatra would stump for Hubert Humphrey in 1968 (against Richard Nixon) but by Thanksgiving of 1971, it would appear a political shift had occurred, as he and Spiro Agnew had forged a close friendship; in fact, Sinatra was determined to see Agnew become the next president in 1976. The "official" cause for Sinatra's political about face was Richard Nixon's position on admitting China to the United Nations, an issue about which he agreed and had been extremely vocal. So, after years of criticising Nixon, Sinatra would now become his strongest supporter, contributing $50,000 to his campaign for reelection in 1972. He was invited to sing at the White House when the Italian prime minister, Giulio Andreotti, visited in April 1973. This was during Frank Sinatra's brief "retirement" period and many people feel that it was the catalyst that would bring the crooner back to the world of performing and recording. Not to mention that for someone in retirement, he sounds like he had been at the top of his game. See for yourself when you listen to "A Very Good Year". Enjoy!
Frank Sinatra-A Very Good Year (The White House Concert-April 1973)
Here's a video of Frank performing at the White House that night!
Vezi mai multe video din Muzica
Friday, February 05, 2010
Along with the "Inside Sinatra" box set,there is also a set of three "unofficial" discs of various concerts given by Sinatra in Italy. It is titled, of course, "Sinatra Live In Italy". As with "Inside Sinatra", I will be posting the three discs of this set over the course of the month as part of "The February of Frank". Today I bring you the first disc in this set. In mid-April 1962 Sinatra embarked on an ambitious two-month World Tour for Children. At the time, he said that his main reason for going was that he was “an overprivileged adult who ought to help underprivileged children.” Sinatra performed with the Bill Miller Sextet and absorbed the entire cost of the tour himself. By the time he returned home in late June, ticket sales to Sinatra’s World Tour concerts had raised more than one million dollars, all of which benefited children’s charities worldwide. Of course, one of the stops on this tour was in Italy and that's where the first disc of "Sinatra Live in Italy" comes from. Here is that great concert for you to enjoy!
Frank Sinatra-Live In Italy Volume 1
Thursday, February 04, 2010
Today's post follows yesterday's re-post. You'll see what I mean in a minute. In the 70s, The Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon was huge! It's gotten less and less of an event as the years have passed but the 70s was truly the golden age of that great fund raising show! Jerry pulled out all of the stops by inviting some of the greatest talents in show business to the stage for a great cause. Back then, the biggest star you could get was Sinatra and Frank was quick to help out his friend. Here is a collection of appearances made by Frank on the telethon throughout the 70s and into the 80s. It features the extremely special appearance where he reunited Jerry with his old partner Dean Martin. At the time, the duo hadn't appeared together in 20 years! Out of all of the telethons that Jerry has put on, that moment in 1976 has become the single most famous moment in the history of the annual fund raiser. Here is that collection of Sinatra's appearances complete with that memorable reunion. Enjoy!
Frank Sinatra-A Pocketfull of Miracles
Here is the video clip of the classic reunion back in 1976!
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Here's a post that I featured all the way back in 2006 when I first started The World of Wonder. It's an episode of The Martin and Lewis Radio Show with Frank Sinatra as their special guest. This was originally broadcast on January 18, 1952 on the NBC Radio Network and includes jokes written by the great Norman Lear who was a staff writer on the show at the time.
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
Sinatra's discography could fill a book the size of the Bible. The amount of recordings that he did from the 30s through the 90s is amazing and almost unbelievable. As with any artist, there are the tracks and takes that made it to the records and the takes and tracks that didn't. Somewhere along the line, someone leaks the tracks and takes that didn't make it and thus a bootleg is born. A giant box set of Sinatra's recording sessions from the 60s was released sometime in the late 90s and it is truly amazing! It's entitled "Inside Sinatra" and each disc in the box set deals with an individual album from that era. Throughout the February of Frank, I will be posting the different albums from this box set for you to enjoy. Today we get to enjoy "Inside Basie". These are the sessions from the recording of the classic, "Sinatra-Basie" album that came out in 1962. These sessions show the album taking shape and in some cases, veering off into different directions from what was originally planned. If you are like me, then you love to hear what goes on in the recording studio. If that's the case, you are going to love this boot. Here is "Inside Basie". Enjoy!
Frank Sinatra-Inside Basie