Wednesday, 4 May 2016

"Frank Sinatra sings for Only The Lonely" by FRANK SINATRA (1998 US Capitol 'Entertainer Of The Century' Expanded CD Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...







"Frank Sinatra sings for Only The Lonely" by FRANK SINATRA 
(1998 US Capitol 'Entertainer Of The Century' Expanded CD Remaster)

"...Set 'Em Up Joe..."

It doesn't take a particular genius to work out that Frank Sinatra's career at Capitol Records produced some serious musical magic - and I'd argue that his third torch-song album "...Only The Lonely" from September 1958 is one of them.

Biographical types and crazed aficionados would be right to point novices in the direction of 1955's "In The Wee Small Hours" and 1957's "Where Are You?" - the other two 'whinging for my gal' LPs in Ole Blue Eyes Fifties canon of work. But there's something deeply brill about the track run on "Only The Lonely" and allied with that painted clown artwork – does it for me.

First up - there are two official Capitol CDs for "Frank Sinatra sings for Only The Lonely" - a November 1987 issue with a Larry Walsh remaster and the same 14-tracks (Barcode 077774847124) - and this - my preferred tipple - the May 1998 'Entertainer Of The Century' CD Remaster by BOB NORBERG (59:43 minutes) on Capitol 72434 94756 2 5 (Barcode the same - 724349475625). When the album was released it came in MONO and STEREO (10 and 12-track variants) - this CD uses the 12-track MONO variant and includes the two extras "Sleep Warm" and the Previously Unreleased (on CD) "Where Or When" that were included on the original November 1987 CD reissue.

1. Only The Lonely
2. Angel Eyes
3. What's New
4. It's A Lonely Old Town
5. Willow Weep For Me
6. Good-Bye [Side 2 of the 10-track LP]
7. Blues In The Night [Side 2 of the 12-track LP]
8. Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry
9. Ebb Tide
10. Spring Is Here
11. Gone With The Wind
12. One For My Baby
Tracks 1 to 12 are the album "Frank Sinatra sings for Only The Lonely" - released September 1958 in the USA on Capitol W 1050 (Mono) and SW 1050 (Stereo). The MONO mix is used for this CD - 20/24-bit Remaster by BOB NERBERG.
Track 4 recorded 25 May 1958
Tracks 1, 2, 5, 8 and 9 recorded, 29 May 1958
Tracks 3, 7 and 11 recorded, 24 June 1958
Tracks 6 and 12 recorded, 25 June 1958

BONUS TRACKS:
13. Sleep Warm
14. Where Or When
Tracks 13 and 14, recorded 11 September 1958 - Track 14 previously unreleased on CD in 1987

Originally produced to perfection by VOYCE GILMORE - the audio on this CD is truly gorgeous and comes with an 'Entertainer Of The Century' spine visible through the see-through jewel case and artwork that is different to the 1987 edition on the rear (also a small but informative set of liner notes).

This is the kind of album/CD reissue that makes you want run out and shout to the rooftops. Essentially head-to-toe with Sinatra effortlessly caressing words and melodies - his voice aligned with Nelson Riddle string arrangements and a set of matchless session players. Highlights include "Angel Eyes" (made even more famous by Jack Jones in 1963 on his  "Wives & Lovers" LP) and the aching "It's A Lonesome Old Town" where Frankie bemoans "...I never knew how much I missed you...” The lone oboe opening of "Willow Weep For Me" is beautifully transferred - that soft shuffle on the drums - it's gorgeous stuff. But the best audio has to go to "Blues In The Night". Everything about this screams class - the opening salvo of double-bass and lone voice as he sings "...my mama done told me...a woman will give you the big eye...but when the sweet talk is done...she'll leave you to sing..." Even prettier is the acoustic guitar on "Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry" - so sweet too as the strings carry it home. And it feels like Howard Arlen and Johnny Mercer practically invented the barroom slouch with "One For My Baby..." - our hero slumped over yet another bourbon - singing to whomever will listen - the barman wearily drying a shot glass as he casts a jaundiced eye over 'love sucker' Numero Uno. I can almost see Frank crying by the lamppost out in the street - chucked out in the wee small hours - wailing for his baby just a little too much.

The "Sleep Warm" bonus track offered here initially turned up on the vinyl compilation album "All The Way" in 1961 - while "Where Or When" first saw LP action in 1978 on another Capitol compilation - "The Rare Sinatra". Accompanied by Bill Mercer on Piano with some strings towards its finish - "Where Or When" is a perfect ending to proceedings. Even if the piano is a tad under-produced - there's no doubt that Frank's voice is sublime...and Pete Welding's liner notes rightly name-check it as a highlight amongst many.

Old fashioned - yes - even a little corny and overplayed - yes. But what a sound - and sometimes - when you need a moment of reflective boo hoo - a snuffled sniffle for the one that got away - then like a pint of plain - Frank Sinatra's "...Only The Lonely" is the man for the job...

PS: Titles in the FRANK SINATRA 'Entertainer Of The Century' USA CD Remaster Series are:
1. In The Wee Small Hours (April 1955 LP) - May 1998 CD is Barcode 724349475526
2. Songs For Young Lovers/Swing Easy! (May 1955 LP) – September 1998 CD is Barcode 724349608924
3. Songs For Swingin' Lovers (March 1956 LP) – September 1998 CD is Barcode 724349622623
4. Frank Sinatra Conducts Tone Poems Of Colour (July 1956 LP) – January 2002 CD is Barcode 724353373825
5. Close To You (January 1957 LP) – January 2002 CD is Barcode 724353374327
6. A Swingin' Affair! (May 1957 LP) – September 1998 CD is Barcode 724349608825
7. Where Are You? (September 1957 LP) – January 2002 CD is Barcode 724353374624
8. A Jolly Christmas From Frank Sinatra (December 1957 LP) – October 1999 CD is Barcode 724352138128
9. Come Fly With Me (January 1958 LP) – September 1998 CD is Barcode 724349608726
10. Frank Sinatra sings for Only The Lonely (September 1958 LP) – September 1998 CD is Barcode 724349475625
11. Come Dance With Me! (January 1959 LP) – May 1998 CD is Barcode 724349475427
12. No One Cares (August 1959 LP) – January 2002 CD is Barcode 724353374129
13. Nice 'n' Easy (August 1960 LP) – January 2002 CD is Barcode 724353374525
14. Sinatra's Swingin' Session!!! (February 1961 LP) – May 1998 CD is Barcode 724349475328
15. Come Swing With Me (August 1961 LP) – January 2002 CD is Barcode 724353373924
16. Point Of No Return (April 1962 LP) – January 2002 CD is Barcode 724353374020
NOTE: Catalogue numbers and Barcodes are the same digits – use Barcode however to locate the right issue on sites like Amazon.

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