In the early fifties, Frank Sinatra was out of work.  No record contract, no movie deal and a smattering of TV appearances that he would likely deem forgettable.  Industry-wide, he was washed-up.  But in 1953, Capitol Record’s Alan Livingston disagreed.

Allan LivingstonAlan Livingston

Believing the talent was still there; Livingston signed Frank to the label, launching the singer on his most prolific era of recording, the Capitol fifties.  Hear Alan Livngston’s intimate account when we open Chapter Five of “The Sinatra Songbook”, Saturday, March 9 at 6pm and Sunday, March 10 at 8am (Eastern) on Metromedia Radio, metromediaradio.net.



We continue the building of a great Sinatra library.  Next on my list… Sinatra/Basie: The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings.

FS-Basie Comp

This 2011 compilation album delivers twenty songs compiled from two legendary album projects.  Ten tracks from Sinatra-Basie: An Historical Musical First (1962) and 10 more from It Might As Well Be Swing (1964).  While these original albums are still available, it probably makes esthetic and  financial sense to go for the compilation.


Sinatra-BasieOf the two, my favorite is Sinatra-Basie, the first of Frank’s album collaborations with the great band leader.  In this instance, band and soloist inspire one another.

Please Be Kind, I Only Have Eyes for You and Learnin’ the Blues are standouts.

The Basie band is super tight and really swings under the direction of arranger, Neil Hefti.  You can hear the smile in Sinatra’s singing, and it’s contagious!


FS-Basie-SwingjpgIt Might As Well Be Swing is the follow-up project for Frank and “Splank” (Basie). The album is arranged and conducted by Quincy Jones.

Check out I Believe in You, The Best is Yet to Come and Fly Me to the Moon.  As “Q” (a.k.a. Mr. Jones) would say, “…RIGHT in the pocket!”

In my humble opinion, It Might As Well Be Swing is not as potent as the first collaboration.   Still, second best here is light-years ahead of the rest.


to be continued…


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