Here you can discuss other musicians and CD reissues etc

Frank Sinatra, All or Nothing At All

Mon Dec 16, 2013 7:41 pm

Re: Frank Sinatra, All or Nothing At All

Mon Dec 16, 2013 8:25 pm

What a terrific post. I was unaware how close Frank Sinatra was to this song. The 1977 disco version is ... interesting, while the 1961 Reprise recording arranged by Don Costa is really nice. I, too, am partial to the jaunty 1966 Nelson Riddle arrangement, and generally like everything from those sessions. Thanks for the look back at a timeless Sinatra track.

Re: Frank Sinatra, All or Nothing At All

Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:03 pm

I'm also fond of the Strangers in the Night album, Frank's wonderful versions of Summer Wind and On a Clear Day (You Can See Forever) really stand out for me, next to All or Nothing At All and a fantastic, swinging version, of Rodgers and Hart's The Most Beautiful Girl in the World. The splendid Deluxe Edition, released in 2010, includes three bonus tracks. Two of which, Strangers in the Night and All or Nothing At All, were recorded live at the Budokan Hall in Tokyo, on April 18th, 1985. It's a highly recommended upgrade.

Re: Frank Sinatra, All or Nothing At All

Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:12 pm

greystoke wrote:I'm also fond of the Strangers in the Night album, Frank's wonderful versions of Summer Wind and On a Clear Day (You Can See Forever) really stand out for me, next to All or Nothing At All and a fantastic, swinging version, of Rodgers and Hart's The Most Beautiful Girl in the World. The splendid Deluxe Edition, released in 2010, includes three bonus tracks. Two of which, Strangers in the Night and All or Nothing At All, were recorded live at the Budokan Hall in Tokyo, on April 18th, 1985. It's a highly recommended upgrade.


I will look for that reissue! I assume you have the 1966 session outtakes?

ONE NIGHT OF SINATRA
http://bigozine2.com/roio/?p=394

Thanks again.

Re: Frank Sinatra, All or Nothing At All

Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:32 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:
greystoke wrote:I'm also fond of the Strangers in the Night album, Frank's wonderful versions of Summer Wind and On a Clear Day (You Can See Forever) really stand out for me, next to All or Nothing At All and a fantastic, swinging version, of Rodgers and Hart's The Most Beautiful Girl in the World. The splendid Deluxe Edition, released in 2010, includes three bonus tracks. Two of which, Strangers in the Night and All or Nothing At All, were recorded live at the Budokan Hall in Tokyo, on April 18th, 1985. It's a highly recommended upgrade.


I will look for that reissue! I assume you have the 1966 session outtakes?

ONE NIGHT OF SINATRA
http://bigozine2.com/roio/?p=394

Thanks again.


Yes, I do. There's some fascinating moments there.

Re: Frank Sinatra, All or Nothing At All

Tue Dec 17, 2013 2:18 am

Great opening post as always. I have to say I prefer the two 1960s versions of the song to the original with Harry James, but greystoke will already have guessed that from my previous comments on Sinatra (but I much prefer the work with Harry James to that with Tommy Dorsey).

Both the 60s versions come from wonderful albums - Sinatra & Strings is stunningly beautiful from start to finish. Sinatra could have been resting on his laurels by this point, but no, he was still trying new things out, such as the version of Stardust on the album which doesn't even include the chorus! The Strangers album isn't as artistically rewarding, but it is a fun album and both Sinatra and Riddle are on good form despite the forgettable Downtown and the commercial title track.

Sinatra seemed to perform the song more and more in concert as he got older, often using jazzier phrasing for the 1966 arrangement to make up for his diminished vocal capacity in his final years. The song was also included in the giant medleys in the 1988 and 1990 tours with Davis & Minnelli and Steve & Eydie Gorme respectively. Sammy Davis, of course, said many times that he absolutely hated the song - a shame, as he could have done it justice too, particularly in a stripped back version for the album of duets with Laurindo Almeida.

On the lovely version with Harry James from 1976 - I wonder if this performance might have sparked the idea of the 40s dance-band-feel afforded some standards on the Trilogy set a couple of years later?

As for the 1977 disco version - at least it was released at the time, being held back until the 20CD reprise boxed set of the mid-1990s that finally tempted me enough to get my first credit card to buy it. It was however performed live a few times, including on the 1977 TV special, Sinatra and Friends, in which he sings it in duet with country star Loretta Lynn. It's a cringeworthy moment (in a show with few highlights) due to the fact that Lynn loses her timing halfway through her verse. Quite why there wasn't a retake, I'm not sure. Quite how Sinatra, ever the perfectionist, let this one through is anybody's guess. What's so sad about this show and the few 1977 recordings of Sinatra we have, is that he was in great voice and was recording virtually nothing - and when he did go in the studio, it was to record some of the worst material he had tackled since Mama Will Bark.

Duet with Loretta Lynn (at 3.20)
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Re: Frank Sinatra, All or Nothing At All

Tue Dec 17, 2013 3:32 am

poormadpeter wrote: Both the 60s versions come from wonderful albums - Sinatra & Strings is stunningly beautiful from start to finish. Sinatra could have been resting on his laurels by this point, but no, he was still trying new things out, such as the version of Stardust on the album which doesn't even include the chorus! The Strangers album isn't as artistically rewarding, but it is a fun album and both Sinatra and Riddle are on good form despite the forgettable Downtown and the commercial title track.


'Strangers in the Night' was the song that first turned me on to Ol' Blue Eyes. That song along with the wonderful 'Summer Wind' made me want to hear more.
My favourite Sinatra track is, and always will be, 'The Girl That I Marry' from the 40's, but my favourite Sinatra period is the mid 60's.

Re: Frank Sinatra, All or Nothing At All

Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:32 pm

poormadpeter wrote:Great opening post as always. I have to say I prefer the two 1960s versions of the song to the original with Harry James, but greystoke will already have guessed that from my previous comments on Sinatra (but I much prefer the work with Harry James to that with Tommy Dorsey).

Both the 60s versions come from wonderful albums - Sinatra & Strings is stunningly beautiful from start to finish. Sinatra could have been resting on his laurels by this point, but no, he was still trying new things out, such as the version of Stardust on the album which doesn't even include the chorus! The Strangers album isn't as artistically rewarding, but it is a fun album and both Sinatra and Riddle are on good form despite the forgettable Downtown and the commercial title track.

Sinatra seemed to perform the song more and more in concert as he got older, often using jazzier phrasing for the 1966 arrangement to make up for his diminished vocal capacity in his final years. The song was also included in the giant medleys in the 1988 and 1990 tours with Davis & Minnelli and Steve & Eydie Gorme respectively. Sammy Davis, of course, said many times that he absolutely hated the song - a shame, as he could have done it justice too, particularly in a stripped back version for the album of duets with Laurindo Almeida.

On the lovely version with Harry James from 1976 - I wonder if this performance might have sparked the idea of the 40s dance-band-feel afforded some standards on the Trilogy set a couple of years later?

As for the 1977 disco version - at least it was released at the time, being held back until the 20CD reprise boxed set of the mid-1990s that finally tempted me enough to get my first credit card to buy it. It was however performed live a few times, including on the 1977 TV special, Sinatra and Friends, in which he sings it in duet with country star Loretta Lynn. It's a cringeworthy moment (in a show with few highlights) due to the fact that Lynn loses her timing halfway through her verse. Quite why there wasn't a retake, I'm not sure. Quite how Sinatra, ever the perfectionist, let this one through is anybody's guess. What's so sad about this show and the few 1977 recordings of Sinatra we have, is that he was in great voice and was recording virtually nothing - and when he did go in the studio, it was to record some of the worst material he had tackled since Mama Will Bark.

Duet with Loretta Lynn (at 3.20)
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I think it's unfortunate that Sinatra recorded so little in the late-seventies, but Trilogy was monumental and both She Shot Me Down and L.A. Is My Lady were splendid albums. I think that Here's to the Ladies, which Frank was recording in 1977, had potential depending on the scope of the project. Some of the recordings are very good, but Frank thought the idea to be old fashioned and scrapped the album. Everybody Ought to Be in Love is quite excellent though, but I think Frank deserves a bit of slack, given that his mother was tragically killed in January of that year. Still, he toured and played live quite extensively in the months thereafter, although I would agree that Sinatra and Friends is among the least memorable of his television specials. But he also committed two months of the year to shooting Contract on Cherry Street, which was very good and very successful. But it's also unfortunate that Frank acted so infrequently after 1970.

Re: Frank Sinatra, All or Nothing At All

Thu Dec 18, 2014 7:26 pm

greystoke wrote:One of my favourites of all Frank Sinatra's recordings is his 1939 version of the Jack Lawrence/Arthur Altman song, All or Nothing At All. This wasn't a song written for Sinatra, who had just signed on as the lead singer with the Harry James Orchestra, and began recording professionally in July of 1939. All or Nothing At All was given to James by Lou Levy, the head of Leeds Publishing, and was recorded with Sinatra singing lead, on August 31st, 1939. What made All or Nothing At All both unusual and remarkable was its 64 bar song structure and the central position Sinatra takes as a vocalist -- from beginning to end, he features on every verse and chorus, which was practically unheard of for a dance band singer at the time. Here, Sinatra employs the long-meter phrasing and sustained notes that would come to revolutionise popular singing -- although the delicate and quiet style ending of a phrase would come during his tenure with Tommy Dorsey. Here, however, Sinatra had more room to manoeuvre than he would with Tommy, and finds an operatic oeuvre that builds to a stunning climax in high F. But there's subtlety present throughout, especially during the opening verse, where Sinatra's pianissimo approach to key words, such as the second "no" before the end of the first chorus, reveals, even at this stage of his career, his careful understanding and reading of a lyric. It's likely that Tommy Doresey heard Sinatra singing All or Nothing At All as early as August 12th, 1939, when the Harry James Orchestra broadcast live from New York's legendary Roseland Ball Room, where James was billed as "The Nation's No. 1 Trumpeter." But it was Sinatra's singing style that was being noticed, although All or Nothing At All only managed to sell around 8,000 copies when first released as a single. Four years later, when Sinatra had left Harry James for Tommy Dorsey's orchestra, then left Dorsey to go solo, All or Nothing At All was re-released as a single during the 1943 recording ban. The idea was to introduce Sinatra as a solo singer, and the result was a million-selling record that peaked at No. 2 on Billboard's Best Sellers chart, where it spent 18 weeks.

Sinatra would re-record All or Nothing At All four more times during his career, in 1945, 1961, 1966 and 1977. All featuring different arrangements and change in the musical style of the song in some instances -- in particular, the up-tempo, and very infectious, 1966 recording (arranged by Nelson Riddle) for the Strangers in the Night album. This was an arrangement Frank often used when performing the song live during the eighties, although he did reunite with Harry James on several occasions over the years, perhaps most memorably during the 1976 television special, John Denver and Friend. Here, Sinatra sits in with the band and sings in the style first heard when he worked with Harry James almost forty years before. Less memorable is the 1977 disco version of the song, arranged by Joe Beck and cut with an eye on the disco trend, but with no real purpose. Frank's performances of All or Nothing At All during his 1982 and 1985 concert specials, Concert for the Americas and Sinatra in Japan, show a huge affection for this wonderful song despite a gap of almost 46 years between his concerts at the Roseland Ball Room and the Budokan Hall. Frank was still singing All or Nothing At All during his final concerts in 1994, often saying this was the first song he ever recorded, but commenting that it was the song that started it all for him.


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