Here you can discuss other musicians and CD reissues etc

Frank Sinatra -- The Complete Reprise Recordings

Mon Jan 06, 2014 2:52 pm

Image

Image

Image

Image

I have a few individual Reprise albums on CD, but I know this period best from listening to The Complete Reprise Recordings box-set. It collects every song in the order he recorded them. I particularly wanted to hear the 1960s in chronological order to follow the progression of Sinatra's art. I did this for awhile, but then I started reading comments by audiophiles who were unhappy with the mix. Many people thought the box-set was incorrectly mastered, and cited the sound of the original vinyl as being far different. I listened to September of My Years on vinyl and had to agree with them. I came back to the box-set thinking it sounded muffled. Others complained a chronological order spoiled the concept of the original albums.

September of My Years is my favorite Sinatra album, and not just because I was born in September, but because -- well, never mind.

What's the best way to listen to Sinatra's Reprise albums? What editions have the best sound? Must I always go back to the vinyl (I'd rather not.)

Re: Frank Sinatra -- The Complete Reprise Recordings

Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:21 pm

The complete Reprise collection was an incredible compendium and a mammoth achievement, especially in presenting several unheard or rarely heard recordings, but I've always preferred listening to Sinatra's albums as they were originally created and released. In some instances, when a particular theme isn't present or a mood hasn't been established, the running order is less important, although Frank had input in every aspect of his career, and that included the way each album's track-listing was presented. The recent reissue of Frank's Reprise catalogue offers, in my opinion, the very best sounding versions of those albums on CD to date. I've repurchased every release thus far and rarely return to the complete collection, and haven't done for years -- individual tracks withstanding. The 2010 reissue of September of My Years is quite marvellous, and contains two bonus tracks; a live performance of This is All I Ask, from June 1984, at Carnegie Hall. And the single version of How Old Am I? If this is your favourite album (and it's certainly one of mine) I'd highly recommended this release, which, for some reason always seems to be quite expensive compared to the other Reprise reissues. But very much worth it.

Re: Frank Sinatra -- The Complete Reprise Recordings

Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:57 pm

Thanks for your response. I assume you're talking about the CD's gathered in this UK box-set:

Image

Image

Do you have an opinion on the mix, on the sound, of the UniversalUK CD's? in comparison to the Reprise box?

Re: Frank Sinatra -- The Complete Reprise Recordings

Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:01 pm

Richard--W wrote:Thanks for your response. I assume you're talking about the CD's gathered in this UK box-set:

Image

Image

Do you have an opinion on the mix, on the sound, of the UniversalUK CD's? in comparison to the Reprise box?


To my ears, the Universal CDs win every time. The Reprise box sounds rather thin in comparison - it's still essential until Universal do a mopping up exercise, but the sound is better on the Universal discs. My understanding is that the universal box (which you have given pictures of) isn't particularly pleasing aesthetically, so you don't gain anything from getting it - but I have yet to see one in person.

Re: Frank Sinatra -- The Complete Reprise Recordings

Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:11 pm

poormadpeter wrote:
Richard--W wrote:Thanks for your response. I assume you're talking about the CD's gathered in this UK box-set:

Image

Image

Do you have an opinion on the mix, on the sound, of the UniversalUK CD's? in comparison to the Reprise box?


To my ears, the Universal CDs win every time. The Reprise box sounds rather thin in comparison - it's still essential until Universal do a mopping up exercise, but the sound is better on the Universal discs. My understanding is that the universal box (which you have given pictures of) isn't particularly pleasing aesthetically, so you don't gain anything from getting it - but I have yet to see one in person.


I've gone for the individual discs on those releases. Some were very cheap, under £5 in most instances. Although the Basie and Jobim releases were more costly, as was the aforementioned September of My Years.

Re: Frank Sinatra -- The Complete Reprise Recordings

Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:22 pm

These look like gatefold digipacks to me.

Are the individual releases the same or in jewel cases?

£5 converts to about $9. I'd have to buy them individually over a period of time because the box-set at $350 is more than I can spend all at once.

Re: Frank Sinatra -- The Complete Reprise Recordings

Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:27 pm

Richard--W wrote:These look like gatefold digipacks to me.

Are the individual releases the same or in jewel cases?

£5 converts to about $9. I'd have to buy them individually over a period of time because the box-set at $350 is more than I can spend all at once.


The box set is digipaks and the individual releases are jewel cases.

Re: Frank Sinatra -- The Complete Reprise Recordings

Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:40 pm

Thanks, gentlemen.

I do wish some of the fansites were still up. There were some useful databases in them, and some trenchant analysis of various discs written by well-informed fans, as well as by professionals and experts. I miss the analysis I used to read of the Reprise Years.

What were Sinatra's strongest Reprise albums? which ones do you like best, and why?

Re: Frank Sinatra -- The Complete Reprise Recordings

Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:22 pm

Richard--W wrote:Thanks, gentlemen.

I do wish some of the fansites were still up. There were some useful databases in them, and some trenchant analysis of various discs written by well-informed fans, as well as by professionals and experts. I miss the analysis I used to read of the Reprise Years.

What were Sinatra's strongest Reprise albums? which ones do you like best, and why?


I think there is far more variety in the Reprise albums than before, and so people like different things for different reasons - and the best albums aren't necessarily the ones I would prefer to listen to (September of my Years being an example).

The two Basie albums are superb, as is the under-rated album with Duke Ellington - and I have these albums to thank for sparking my own interest in jazz. The first Jobim album is a masterpiece, and Sinatra & Company - half of it being with Jobim - is also a fine record (although the half without Jobim is rather erratic). Some of the early swing albums are superb too - I prefer Sinatra Swings over the others, but it's a close call between them. Sinatra and Strings shows the other side from the same period - a wonderful set of ballads, and Don Costa's finest moment. She Shot Be Down, from 1981, is also a high point of the Reprise years, with Frank returning to the saloon song with devastating results. Ol' Blue Eyes is Back also has its moments - I still find There Used to be a Ballpark one of the most moving recordings laid down by anyone. And there's Watertown, too. Not easy music, but brilliant.

But Sinatra is almost unique I think in that every album he ever recorded has at least one track that would be at home in a boxed set best-of retrospective Some Nice Things I've Missed, for example, is pretty awful as an album but there are still some lovely ballads on it. Many look down upon albums such as Cycles, and yet Little Green Apples sits up there with the great Sinatra recordings no matter what your preference of genre. All the Reprise albums have something to recommend them, albeit some more than others.

Re: Frank Sinatra -- The Complete Reprise Recordings

Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:33 pm

Tough question, because I like almost every album Sinatra made at Reprise and can't say that I actually dislike any, although there's a few I don't love -- Academy Award Winners, The World We Knew and Some Nice Things I've Missed spring to mind in this regard. Although there's riches to be found in all of these albums, and brilliantly so in many instances. But the albums I most certainly do love, and would count among my absolute favourites, are Sinatra and Strings, Sinatra-Basie, The Concert Sinatra, It Might as Well be Swing!, September of My Years, Moonlight Sinatra, Francis Albert Sinatra and Antonio Corlos Jobim, Francis A. & Edward K., A Man Alone, Ol' Blue Eyes is Back, Trilogy and She Shot Me Down. I should also say Sinatra at the Sands, which, in my opinion is one of the two or three greatest live albums ever made; L.A. Is My Lady, which is actually a Qwest/Warner Bros. release and the splendid Reprise Musical Repertory Theatre.

To elaborate slightly, Sinatra and Strings is, quite simply, a musical masterpiece that's dramatically rich and musically symphonic. There's a deep, soulful and sensual nature to every recording here, with Sinatra proving devastatingly real on every track. Don Costa's arrangements are truly breathtaking throughout, whilst the track-listing is almost beyond reproach, Sinatra having chosen to record several songs for the first time whilst adding further dimensions to new interpretations of select standards, such as Night and Day, All or Nothing At All and Stardust, all of which are truly exquisite. Come Rain or Come Shine and Yesterdays are nothing short of extraordinary, however, especially the former, which brings together a fusion of lush strings met with a bluesy undercurrent that's present in both the arrangement and Sinatra's brilliant delivery. Yesterdays brings many dramatic colours and an air of poignancy met with some phrasing akin to Billie Holliday on Sinatra's part. A somber version of the Errol Garner classic, Misty, is another standout as is a fine version of Prisoner of Love and darkly retrospective approach to Rogers and Hammerstein's It Might as Well be Spring. Although the overall mood and effect isn't as inwardly stark as Only the Lonely or Point of No Return, Sinatra and Strings' symphonic nature, operatic sense of drama and lush romantic hues finds both Sinatra and Costa at the musical apex.

Lesser-known and perhaps underrated, is the 1966 album, Moonlight Sinatra. Arranged by Nelson Riddle, the concept of this album may be ostensibly twee, but this is a tremendously expressive, beautifully arranged album that hints at Crosby with occasional glimmers of Dorsey and the big band sound via a stunning version of Glen Miller's Moonlight Serenade. Moonlight Becomes You is truly beautiful and unashamedly romantic, although this sentiment changes to poignancy in Moon Song and aching sadness in Irving Berlin's Reaching for the Moon, which features an astonishing arrangement that swirls with strings, delicate brass and a flirting percussion. Conversely, The Moon Was Yellow prefigures Sinatra's recordings with Antonio Carlos Jobim by retaining the Latin rhythms of Crosby's version. Moon Love, on the other hand, is based on Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony, and wouldn't be out of place on the aforementioned Sinatra and Strings or Only the Lonely, the intro being particularly striking whilst the heightened sense of the dramatic in Sinatra's singing is wholly in tune with the material.

Still lesser-known and criminally underrated, is the 1967 album, Francis A. & Edward K. Arranged by Billy May, this was an album that came to exist via its fair share of problems, namely the Ellington band coming ill-prepared, Sinatra considering abandoning the album and then developing a cold. But when the album swaggers open with a fine-voiced Sinatra leading a stately-paced Follow Me, the mood is set almost instantaneously. Especially when a touch of swing creeps in through some fine brass and a wailing trumpet solo. The oft covered Bobby Hebb song, Sunny, flirts broadly with jazz inflections and Sinatra sitting comfortably amidst a beefy tempo, whilst Ellington's piano flirts amidst some cool brass and a touch of sass that's tremendously engaging. That sassy rhythm and a free and easy swagger continues in All I Need is the Girl, whilst Indian Summer is nigh-on extraordinary. Sinatra sings carefully, phrasing with true excellence and perfect diction that's matched by the great Johnny Hodges' sax solo. If ever a song was quietly brilliant, it's this . . . I Like the Sunrise is the only Ellington composition present on this album, which is a crying shame considering how superbly played and sung this achingly sad song is. Yellow Days finds the Ellington band at their most distinct and coherent on the entire album, with Hodges shining yet again -- the intricacies of Sinatra's vocal is equally impressive and creates a lingering impression that's almost spellbinding. Poor Butterfly, however, is punctuated by some of the album's finest drumming, with a few Latin touches and a firm Sinatra who is perhaps at his least impressive on this track. This said, Come Back to Me swings with a racing abandon on which Sinatra and the band up the musical ante with a searing and soaring vocal, wailing brass and a thumping rhythm that never lets up. Which provides quite a contrast to the gentility of Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim, or the introspective nature of Watertown and A Man Alone. Albums that are as fragile and intimate as Trilogy is monumental. And whilst She Shot Me Down harks back to the tone poems and orchestral richness of Sinatra and Strings and Sinatra at Capitol, in many ways, LA Is My Lady is perfect later Sinatra. The combination of excellent material, vibrant charts, one of the best bands ever assembled and Sinatra on ace form is a dream. Especially with a poignant new recording of Stormy Weather, some newly commissioned lyrics to Until the Real Thing Comes Along and a romp through After You've Gone that matches Come Back to Me in the swinging stakes, and with a delicious George Benson guitar solo into the bargain. The unused version of Body and Soul, as heard on Nothing but the Best, also stems from these sessions and highlights a fabulous Sinatra vocal. I'm hoping to see a fortieth anniversary release of this album that puts Body and Soul next to the tracks it was recorded with, finds a DVD release for the splendid Portrait of an Album and gives this album another chance at being discovered after it failed to find a wider audience on release. But the recent reissue sounds quite dazzling from the very start and the opening beats of the slick title track.

Re: Frank Sinatra -- The Complete Reprise Recordings

Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:43 pm

I have to share Greystoke's enthusiasm for the Ellington album - it's quite brilliant and wholly enjoyable. I think sometimes it's a case of us knowing too much about the difficulties of these sessions - such as the band coming unprepared etc, and sometimes we think we hear these things in the recordings whether they're there or not. But really and truly, Sinatra sounds as if he is having a ball for the most part - as with the Basie albums, it was clearly a dream union for him and he relishes it. The Ellington band sound soooo good on Sunny. I can't say I'm taken with Come Back to Me, the final track, as it sounds a little under-rehearsed and probably could have done with another take or two to tidy it all up a bit, but other than that the album is a joy.

Re: Frank Sinatra -- The Complete Reprise Recordings

Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:49 pm

Some nice posts here, thank you.

This is the Reprise set I have: in what way does it differ from the suitcase?

SinatraTCRSR.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Re: Frank Sinatra -- The Complete Reprise Recordings

Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:56 pm

George Smith wrote:Some nice posts here, thank you.

This is the Reprise set I have: in what way does it differ from the suitcase?

SinatraTCRSR.jpg


It's just the same, George, only sans the suitcase design.

Re: Frank Sinatra -- The Complete Reprise Recordings

Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:04 pm

Ah, thank you, Greystoke: it's a good set, most enjoyable although I agree with the previous comments regarding the necessity of the themes.

Re: Frank Sinatra -- The Complete Reprise Recordings

Tue Jan 07, 2014 12:19 am

George Smith wrote:Ah, thank you, Greystoke: it's a good set, most enjoyable although I agree with the previous comments regarding the necessity of the themes.


Mine was the same version. Sadly sold to help fund uni, and never really seen it since at a decent price.

Re: Frank Sinatra -- The Complete Reprise Recordings

Tue Jan 07, 2014 12:09 pm

Thanks for the eloquent input, greystoke. I've always loved the Basie and Ellington collaborations. I have to be careful what I put my mind to because I could easily get lost in the worlds of Basie and Ellington. I have an import of a show Sinatra did with Basie at the Arie Crown Theater in Chicago, 18 July 1965. Sinatra At the Sands was the better show, but this one is also of interest and quite enjoyable.

Okay, I've decided to buy three Reprise CDs by UniversalUK per month until I have them all. Today it was Sinatra and Strings, Moonlight Sinatra and September of My Years. The amazon marketplace seller gouged me $9 apiece for them including postage for new sealed discs sent over from London. Would rather have the digipacks in the box-set, but that's the way it goes. So I will buy a CD long-box to keep them in.

poormadpeter, sorry to hear you had to sell your trunk. Let me tell you how I got mine. I did a search on ebay. They were all coming up too expensive. Just outrageous prices. But I kept searching. One day I mis-typed the entry -- I forget just how -- and up came a trunk under the same mis-spelling. The seller's description was also full of typos. I kid you not. The auction started at $10. I bid a lot more than that. I came home one night and checked my email and to my utter astonishment I had won the trunk for $10. No one had bid against me. I don't think anyone could find the auction because of the mis-spelling. That was in 2003. The trunk arrived sealed with all the stickers. The book was missing a dust jacket, and you can bet I complained loudly about that. The downside is that I've been losing auctions ever since.

Anyhow, I happen to have three extra discs. Picked them up for a buck on ebay before I won the auction. Discs 2, 9 and 10. You can have them if you want them. Just pm your address.

Re: Frank Sinatra -- The Complete Reprise Recordings

Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:30 pm

Richard--W wrote:Thanks for the eloquent input, greystoke. I've always loved the Basie and Ellington collaborations. I have to be careful what I put my mind to because I could easily get lost in the worlds of Basie and Ellington. I have an import of a show Sinatra did with Basie at the Arie Crown Theater in Chicago, 18 July 1965. Sinatra At the Sands was the better show, but this one is also of interest and quite enjoyable.

Okay, I've decided to buy three Reprise CDs by UniversalUK per month until I have them all. Today it was Sinatra and Strings, Moonlight Sinatra and September of My Years. The amazon marketplace seller gouged me $9 apiece for them including postage for new sealed discs sent over from London. Would rather have the digipacks in the box-set, but that's the way it goes. So I will buy a CD long-box to keep them in.

poormadpeter, sorry to hear you had to sell your trunk. Let me tell you how I got mine. I did a search on ebay. They were all coming up too expensive. Just outrageous prices. But I kept searching. One day I mis-typed the entry -- I forget just how -- and up came a trunk under the same mis-spelling. The seller's description was also full of typos. I kid you not. The auction started at $10. I bid a lot more than that. I came home one night and checked my email and to my utter astonishment I had won the trunk for $10. No one had bid against me. I don't think anyone could find the auction because of the mis-spelling. That was in 2003. The trunk arrived sealed with all the stickers. The book was missing a dust jacket, and you can bet I complained loudly about that. The downside is that I've been losing auctions ever since.

Anyhow, I happen to have three extra discs. Picked them up for a buck on ebay before I won the auction. Discs 2, 9 and 10. You can have them if you want them. Just pm your address.


Interestingly, I bought a bulk lot of classical cds at a silly price through similar reasons (misspelling). Thanks for the offer of the discs, but I'll get the whole thing back one day and will wait until then. I've got all the albums through the new releases and confess to ripping the "uncollected" songs from the box on to the computer before I sold it!

Re: Frank Sinatra -- The Complete Reprise Recordings

Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:47 pm

Richard--W wrote:Thanks for the eloquent input, greystoke. I've always loved the Basie and Ellington collaborations. I have to be careful what I put my mind to because I could easily get lost in the worlds of Basie and Ellington. I have an import of a show Sinatra did with Basie at the Arie Crown Theater in Chicago, 18 July 1965. Sinatra At the Sands was the better show, but this one is also of interest and quite enjoyable.

Okay, I've decided to buy three Reprise CDs by UniversalUK per month until I have them all. Today it was Sinatra and Strings, Moonlight Sinatra and September of My Years. The amazon marketplace seller gouged me $9 apiece for them including postage for new sealed discs sent over from London. Would rather have the digipacks in the box-set, but that's the way it goes. So I will buy a CD long-box to keep them in.

poormadpeter, sorry to hear you had to sell your trunk. Let me tell you how I got mine. I did a search on ebay. They were all coming up too expensive. Just outrageous prices. But I kept searching. One day I mis-typed the entry -- I forget just how -- and up came a trunk under the same mis-spelling. The seller's description was also full of typos. I kid you not. The auction started at $10. I bid a lot more than that. I came home one night and checked my email and to my utter astonishment I had won the trunk for $10. No one had bid against me. I don't think anyone could find the auction because of the mis-spelling. That was in 2003. The trunk arrived sealed with all the stickers. The book was missing a dust jacket, and you can bet I complained loudly about that. The downside is that I've been losing auctions ever since.

Anyhow, I happen to have three extra discs. Picked them up for a buck on ebay before I won the auction. Discs 2, 9 and 10. You can have them if you want them. Just pm your address.


Sinatra's collaborations with Basie were a dream, both the albums and concert appearances, and also on television. It's a shame Sinatra didn't record with Ellington again, although the Duke's soundtrack to Frank's 1966 film, Assault on a Queen, is the highlight of a woefully forgettable heist movie. Although the opening credits are quietly intriguing.

phpBB [video]

Re: Frank Sinatra -- The Complete Reprise Recordings

Fri Jan 10, 2014 8:19 am

Assault On a Queen may not be the best script Rod Serling ever wrote, but it's better than average, and I enjoy it. Serling was a first-rate dramatist when he was inspired and when he wasn't inspired he knew how to tell a story. He can really turn your head around if you get into him. Which I do.

It occurs to me that the first UniversalUK Reprise disc I bought is the Gordon Jenkins collaboration. There is tremendous power in the restraint of his strings. Septembers of My Years is best listened to half one day, half the next. It treads heavily all at once. And yet I love it. Recently I watched the first 8 months (September 1964 through April 1965) of the half-hour nighttime soap Peyton Place. It begins in the autumn and goes through a long winter, then wraps all the story threads up just as spring approaches and new story threads start to refresh the program. The producers worked hard to create a sense of the seasons and of time passing. This is a mature and intelligent program, one that aims high and digs deep. The filmmaking here (it's shot 35mm monochrome, not videotape) is positively brilliant, from the writing on up. I wonder who they were listening to. The mood and textures of the program remind me of a Sinatra concept album and I can't help thinking how appropriate his music would be in the series. Certainly Sinatra was watching. He married it's young star, Mia Farrow.

Wasn't that clever, how I pulled that together at the end ....

Re: Frank Sinatra -- The Complete Reprise Recordings

Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:39 am

Is it true that the Brits don't always shrink wrap new discs?

Re: Frank Sinatra -- The Complete Reprise Recordings

Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:07 am

Richard--W wrote:Is it true that the Brits don't always shrink wrap new discs?


Yes, that's right. Rarely, in fact.

Re: Frank Sinatra -- The Complete Reprise Recordings

Fri Jan 17, 2014 2:57 am

I can't tell if they're used or not.

Re: Frank Sinatra -- The Complete Reprise Recordings

Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:42 pm

Thanks for an interesting topic, fellas.

I've been on a Sinatra kick recently and am particularly enjoying the Sinatra / Jobim album (late at night or first thing in the morning on the way to the office), Sinatra At The Sands and Ring A DIng-Ding from the Reprise years.

Re: Frank Sinatra -- The Complete Reprise Recordings

Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:54 pm

londonflash wrote:Thanks for an interesting topic, fellas.

I've been on a Sinatra kick recently and am particularly enjoying the Sinatra / Jobim album (late at night or first thing in the morning on the way to the office), Sinatra At The Sands and Ring A DIng-Ding from the Reprise years.


Good choices -- all are splendid albums, and all offer something very different.

Re: Frank Sinatra -- The Complete Reprise Recordings

Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:47 pm

Richard--W wrote:Is it true that the Brits don't always shrink wrap new discs?



Hey, I shrink wrap mine all the time ! :wink: