Sinatra 100th: Best Performances – Honorable Mentions 06
HEY!…How’s Your Bird?
Here at TCOTS, we’re celebrating Frank Sinatra’s 100th Birthday by counting down what I think are his 100 best performances on Vinyl and CD, but, as promised, we’re also celebrating those tracks [‘Honorable Mentions’] that just didn’t make the List.
As with the 100 Best, Francis Albert will be your pilot and Bobby Bell your navigator [Dean will be serving — what else? — cocktails].
So sit back easy in your easy chair, pour yourself your favorite libation, and let’s go for an aural ride to the stars…
We’re taking a two week break from Best Performance Countdown to catch-up on those recordings that just missed that List [see last week’s HM’s here].
Time to grab your gal, and take a whirl on the hardwood…
HM21 — I Didn’t Know What Time It Was
Music & Lyrics: Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers
Recorded: 25 September 1957
From the albums Pal Joey, Sinatra In Hollywood [6-CD Box], Sings The Select Rogers And Hart
A ballad that transforms itself into a lovely, lilting swing, this performance, recorded for the movie Pal Joey, transports you into a nightclub, where it’s ‘Grand to be alive, to be young, to be mad, to be yours alone’.
HM22 — Sunday
Music & Lyrics: Jule Styne, Ned Miller, Bennie Krueger, Chester Conn
Recorded: 07 April 1954
From the album Swing Easy
Ahhh…Love on a Sunday — there’s something different about it, something oh so grand.
Throw in some great Vibes and you can’t help but forgetting your troubles and getting Happy.
HM23 — I’ll Be Around
Music & Lyrics: Alec Wilder
Recorded: 08 February 1955
From the album In The Wee Small Hours
This is a perfect performance [as is the whole album] to listen to in the wee small hours of the morning, as the night is fading and the light of the Sun is starting to appear over the horizon.
As Mark Steyn wrote:
…”God bless Frank Sinatra for singing the definitive version of this song,” said [Composer Alec] Wilder. Sinatra’s take on In The Wee Small Hours (1955) has a spare but gorgeous Nelson Riddle arrangement that matches the translucence of the melody. The recording was made in the actual wee small hours, and using just a four-man rhythm section, on which Sinatra’s pianist Bill Miller and guitarist George Van Eps are particularly strong….
But it’s not a song of desolation, Love lost — no, no. It’s sad and, yet, I find it resigned, but hopeful.
However you feel about it, this recording is, indeed, ‘gorgeous’…
HM24 — The Nearness Of You
Music & Lyrics: Hoagy Carmichael, Ned Washington
Recorded: 02 March 1960
From the compilation albums Sinatra Sings…Of Love And Things, Nice ‘N’ Easy [CD]
This was supposed to be the first song on the album that became Nice ‘N’ Easy and to be the title of it, but it was bumped when the tune NNE became a hit single. As Mark Steyn relates:
…And, even though it wasn’t entirely simpatico with the other tracks, Capitol decided to make that the title song, and ditch “The Nearness Of You” entirely. It surfaced in 1962 on a ragbag compilation called Sinatra Sings of Love and Things, and wasn’t restored to its rightful place with the Nice’n’Easy tracks until the CD era. Yet there it is on the new centennial Ultimate Sinatra collection, selected as one of one hundred tracks encompassing the entirety of Frank’s career.
Now, with the miracle of being able to make your own mixes, this fine performance can be restored to it’s rightful place — something I highly recommend.
See you next time when we’ll take another short helicopter-hop to Bobsville.
Don’t forget to also keep checking out
Pundette’s Sinatra 100 countdown,
Ms Evi’s Sinatra Celebration,
& Mark Steyn’s Sinatra Songs Of The Century.
It’s a ring-a-ding world.
If you’re having trouble tracking down any of the performances on this List, contact me at Robert[dot]Belvedere[at]gmail[dot]com and I might be able to help you.