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Saturday, 12 December 2015


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Much more than pictures at that link. (http://blogs.kcrw.com/rhythmplanet/frank-sinatras-classic-hi-fi-system/)

A window into an entirely different nutty world.


Sinatra was an American original all right. But he was a creature of his time. For crooners I prefer Mel Torme, or even Tony Bennett. In general Sinatra was not my style of actor either..he was wooden, even. I just watched "Pal Joey" the other day. Awful stuff. Just terrible. Still, he meant something to a lot of folks and the American century was his in many ways.

Two things I've heard about Sinatra. First ,he was able to carry his notes long and effortlessly because he learned from horn players how to breath in and out at the same time.Secondly, he was responsible for the demise of big bands. Big Bands had a boy singer and a girl singer. The bands were what people came to see , not the singers. Frank changed that. He became more popular then the bands. Hence their demise.

Thanks, I really enjoy your "Off Topic" posts.

Three channel analog tapes still sound amazing, whether pressed onto good vinyl or transcribed to DSD 256.

The Israeli songwriter and columnist Eli Mohar wrote in his obituary for Frank Sinatra, that Sinatra's secret was to enter
at the last millisecond of the musical phrase - just when you thought it was too late, but it wasn't.
He Had the perfect timing !

Speaking of running across interesting things, today we saw the World Press Photo exhibit at the Rotunda in Beverly Hills. Great photos, of course, chosen by peers. It will be there until Jan 3.
While there, we were interviewed by one of the staff and got into a long discussion on how to get more interest in the exhibition in the US. LA is the only stop this year.
See http://www.worldpressphoto.org/exhibitions

Mike, I think the car pictured is a Bentley S3 Saloon. The S3 Continental carried a different, lighter body, and was more rare than the S3 Saloon. The S3 Saloon was very similar to the Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III, the most notable difference being the grill.

[Thanks--fixed now (taking your word for it). --Mike]

The difficult part about the Frank Sinatra centennial is that his career was so long and varied that most of what I am seeing right now is the video equivalent of a greatest hits tribute album.
That's fine but to me Frank Sinatra gets more interesting when you wander off into some of his less known work.
Thanks to YouTube it's possible to sit down and explore his career on your own terms.
A couple of less visited places I can recommend are his live work with Red Norvo and a V disc on which he conducted the music of Alec Wilder.
He also did a wonderful read of another Wilder song "South to a Warmer Place", it's on YouTube too.
And then there's this.


Seven minutes that will make your day.
I guarantee it.

Also, Frank Sinatra as a boxing photographer:


"... during WWII, back home singing torch songs for all the lonely women."

This version of Frank singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," makes me think of that time - although I wasn't around then.


I discovered Sinatra when I was a freshman in college, around 1967/68. I had discovered Elvis while in junior high school and Dylan in high school. Somewhere in there, the Beatles and the Stones made their appearance as well. Seems like there was an idol for every season. Of course my discovery of Sinatra was kind of late. He had been one of the most popular singers around in the early 1940s, before I was even born. As I was growing up, I viewed him more of a news item and an actor than a singer. I don't recall ever actually listening to his singing at the time. But by the time I hit college, I had discovered Brubeck, Monk and Miles and my appreciation of Sinatra's music as vocal jazz-pop hit its full stride. Even when his material was mostly trendy dreck, Sinatra made it a little interesting. And I doubt anyone will ever really surpass Sinatra's collaborations with geniuses like Gordon Jenkins and Nelson Riddle. Those recordings will always be sublime.

When he died, I played Sinatra CDs all day, knowing he would always be with us. And of course he is.

An excellent piece in the Guardian, yesterday:


The Bentley S3 is a car I traveled a lot in as a child, surprisingly compact inside, especially in the back. The best S3 (Bentley, not Nikon), was owned by the father of a friend of mine, the S3 Continental Coupe by Mulliner Park Ward.

Given a choice, I'd choose Frank's hi-fi over the Bentley.

I never really 'got' Sinatra ... until I realised it wasn't so much his voice as his timing, esp. in his later (post 60) recordings - so many of them seem to court disaster. So laid back at times he's horizontal.

Couple that to his recordings with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra .. I must have listened to "Got you Under My Skin" a thousand times, and the brass section still gives me shivers.

The BBC responded with an article today;

I think I'm the same age as you (58) but I love Sinatra. His recordings for Capitol, in the '50s, are peerless.

I was lucky enough to see him in concert, at the Royal Albert Hall in London, in September, 1980. Despite his age, he was sensationally good. I wept with joy when he sang In The Wee Small Hours.

All through the concert men and women would walk to the edge of the stage and leave him gifts of flowers, bottles of whisky and even phone numbers...

I had a chance to see him again the following year but declined on the grounds that he was in such good form the one time I saw him I didn't want to ruin the memory. My friends, who went, told me I made the right choice.

That 3-track system brings back memories. My first real job was as a technician at RCA Studios in Montreal, and one my first tasks was to convert the Scully 3-track recorders to 4-track. The recording consoles had 3 channels: left, centre and right. There were 3 speakers hung from the ceiling in the control room. When upgrading to 4 channels, they simply added another speaker for monitoring. Then when 8-track machines arrived, the studio manager had every intention of installing 8 speakers across the front of the control room! Fortunately, cooler heads that knew about monitor mixing systems prevailed.

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