Al Viola, one of the busiest studio musicians in LA, was Sinatra’s guitarist of choice. Al’s stories of collaborating in the studio and on the road with Francis Albert are, at once, intimate, enlightening and fun.

Trust me. This is NOT the Songbook hour to miss.

Meet this kind, enthusiastic spirit of a musician, Al Viola, when we open Chapter Seven of The Sinatra Songbook, Saturday September 15 at 6pm and Sunday, September 16 at 8am (those are eastern times) exclusively on Metromedia Radio.





                                     BUILDING YOUR COLLECTION
What albums make for a great starter set?  I get this question a lot.  In the weeks to come, I’ll be listing my favorites, beginning with album titles that represent the best of the best. To give new listeners a chance to climb aboard, I’m keeping these early posts online a bit longer.



SONGS FOR YOUNG LOVERS/SWING EASY (1954)  Sinatra at the beginning of his epic era of swingin’ recordings. More than a glimpse of what’s to come, these sides unleash a confident, thirty-something artist, long on enthusiasm and confidence. This combo pairs two of Frank’s early projects for the Capitol Records label. Both Songs for Young Lovers and Swing Easy were ten-inch albums. Each featured eight songs. All sixteen tracks are in place and are equally strong. These first album projects with Nelson Riddle feature a small jazz group and a light, breezy attitude.


SONGS FOR SWINGIN’ LOVERS (1956)  The granddaddy of ‘em all! Not the first pairing of Sinatra and legendary arranger-conductor, Nelson Riddle, but the album that would, at once, redefine the attitude of popular music and solidify the Sinatra-Riddle sound for all time. The classic example here is the signature version of I’ve Got You Under My Skin. Fifteen swingin’ inventions by this unstoppable partnership. The title says it all!


…to be continued.