Sinatra 100th: Ten Best Albums – No. 05
Since way back in January, we here at TCOTS have been celebrating Frank Sinatra’s 100th Birthday and, man, it’s been a swingin’ affair so far. We started by ticking off the 100 Best Performances of The Chairman Of The Board on CD and digital download, and now we’re ready for another supersonic flight where the air is so rarified: counting down the Top Ten Best Albums of Mr. Sinatra, because, above everything else, ol’ Francis Albert was about da albums for a good part of his career [we’ll be featuring one album per week and this will take us right-up to the big day: 12 December].
While he may not have invented the Concept Album [and that is a matter of some dispute], Frank certainly defined and brought the genre to near-Perfection, turning out a series of them that still move the Heart and thrill the Soul.
While time will not permit me to post audio for all the tracks, I’ll try to provide a nice sampler of the tunes I enjoy the most.
So…put your seat belts on and get ready for a real mothery time [and indulge in a little ‘Hey-Hey’, if you feel the urge].
Captain Frank will be your pilot and Bobby Bell your navigator.
Let’s get this bird soaring…
05 — Swing Easy
Recorded: 07 and 19 April 1954
Arranger: Nelson Riddle
Best Mastering* on CD/Digital Download: Music For Pleasure CD [UK], which also contains the album Songs For Young Lovers.
Mastering Engineer: Unknown [incorrectly attributed in booklet to Larry Walsh].
[favorite Performances in black]:
- “Just One of Those Things” (Cole Porter) – 3:12
- “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter” (Fred E. Ahlert, Joe Young) – 2:24
- “Sunday” (Chester Conn, Benny Krueger, Ned Miller, Jule Styne) – 2:28
- “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams” (Harry Barris, Ted Koehler, Billy Moll) – 2:13
- “Taking a Chance on Love” (Vernon Duke, Ted Fetter, John Latouche) – 2:12
- “Jeepers Creepers” (Harry Warren, Johnny Mercer) – 2:21
- “Get Happy” (Ted Koehler, Harold Arlen) – 2:21
- “All of Me” (Gerald Marks, Seymour Simons) – 2:06
Only eight songs in length because 33 1/3″ albums back then were ten inches and not twelve, Swing Easy is just pure joy from beginning to end. It’s short length and the joie de vivre that infuses every damn note of it makes it an album one often plays twice in a row.
Unlike his subsequent albums for Capital that utilized full orchestras, here Sinatra uses the kind of smaller Band that he had been employing in his lounge appearances for several years beforehand. Thus, what we have here is a more intimate experience, one that gives us a good taste of what it must have been like to see him live during these years as he was developing what would become THE Sinatra Style [if you want to experience more of Sinatra in this setting, listen to any of the live concerts from his 1962 World Tour, especially Live In Paris and Live In Tokyo].
As Friend In The Ether Matt Lutthans has remarked:
…Because of the small size of the backing group, Riddle’s arrangements have a breezy freedom rarely duplicated on his records with Sinatra. The music is bubbly, effervescent, refreshing.
Like a glass of fine champagne.
Swing Easy is a perfect case of truth in advertising. What a delight this set is — truly a masterpiece of it’s genre.
-It was great fun…
-That one day when I’m with you…
-Just remember that sunshine
Always follows the rain…
-Can’t you see…I’m no good without you…
See you next Weekend as we head-off again to Bobsville…and tell us your favorite albums in the Comments, Clyde.
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 masterings on this List, contact me at Robert[dot]Belvedere[at]gmail[dot]com and I might be able to help you.
*The links I’m providing for the best CD/Digital
masterings are not meant to be an endorsement of
the site linked to. I receive no enumeration or any
kind of considerations from them. They are linked
for informational purposes only.