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Frank Sinatra – Songs for Swingin’ Lovers! (1956)

September 5, 2013

[Album 232/1001]220px-Songsforswinginlovers

A highly recommended listening exercise in juxtaposition:

1) Listen to 1955’s In The Wee Small Hours.  The heartbreak is almost tangible.

2) Check out Ol’ Blue Eyes doing a 180 on Songs for Swingin’ Lovers!  The change in mood is astonishing, the sheer jubilation of this record is likely immeasurable.  So irrepressible in fact that the exclamation mark & dropped ‘g’ in the album title only begin to convey the enthusiasm!

I’m not knocking it, I had a fantastic time listening to this one.  Especially when my 3-year old started cleverly changing the words of the opening track to “You make me feel so young old.”

Sinatra reminds me of one of my favourite hockey players from the 90s, Sergei Fedorov.  The ladies loved ’em, they could play any role, both were beyond talented & smooth.  Arguably self-assured to a fault as everything they did seemed effortless, fans perhaps sometimes wished for them to visibly exert themselves a bit more!

Most importantly, they had all-star supporting casts.  For years, Fedorov played on a hall of fame-bound Detroit Red Wings team.  In the mid-50s, Sinatra played with Nelson Riddle’s Orchestra.

The album is littered with brilliant arrangements but the best of the bunch, I’ve Got You Under My Skin, also features the best story.  Apparently, at the last possible minute (as late as en route to the studio in the back of a cab), Riddle frantically arranged the song.  The reaction by the musicians after playing the hastily arranged piece?  Sincere applause.



From → 1950s

  1. One of the best from my favorite era of Sinatra’s career. Nicely written post.

    • Thank you Rich – I had not realized this was somewhat of a comeback period for him. If it was his second act, it was a good one!

      • I never really enjoyed his “crooning” recordings with Columbia, but his Capitol output is consistently great. I’m not an expert on his career by any means but I know what I like, and so many of those albums are amazing. Concept albums before the term even existed.

      • And “In the wee small hours” is chronologically the first album in the 1001 book.
        On top of concept records, the journalist who reviewed it even credited him with kicking off the album era in general. His other entry on the list is Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim (1967).
        So he’s got a bit of heartache with wee small hours, joie de vivre with Swingin’ songs, looks like bossa nova on the next one, not a bad mix!

      • Good point about the album era. Sinatra was definitely at the start of it. That album with Jobim is fantastic as well. One of these days I need to do a series on Sinatra. I don’t own all of his albums…that’s a lot of music…but I have many of them, as well as a 20-CD “Complete Reprise Recordings” box set. There just aren’t enough hours in the day for our obsession.

      • It’s true – this whole ’employment’ thing keeps cutting into perfectly good music & blogging time!

      • If only people would start paying us handsomely for listening to & writing about music, our problems would be solved. Maybe one day, right?

      • Some day perhaps! Though I sometimes wonder if it ever did become ‘a job’, I fear I might lose my passion for listening to/writing about music.

        Perhaps the key is to do it like Paul McCartney tours: on his own terms. Who else can tell promoters, I’m going to tour for a week, then spend a few with my family, then go back on the road for a few days, and so on!

  2. I also reviewed “Songs for swinging lovers” and “In the wee small hours”. I think they are boring and overrated.

    • Even songs for swinging lovers? I don’t remember many of the individual tracks apart from you make me feel so young and I’ve got you under my skin but I quite enjoyed the joie de vivre in those. Wee small hours I agree wasn’t exactly exhilarating.

      I think “comeback” records generally get a lot of attention – and from what I gather, Wee small hours ushered in the album era, so perhaps another reason why it’s regarded so highly.

      I tend to like when there’s contrast in back-to-back records (these two, Nevermind/In Utero, Pulp’s Different Class/This is Hardcore)

      • I think it´s a bit better than “In the wee small hours” but it doesn´t get me. Both albums have the tendency to push the instruments to much in the background just delivering a background to wich Sinatra can sing. “Songs for swingin lovers” has some more cool instrument parts, so it´s a bit better for me.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. 2 years down, 737 albums and 8 years to go! | 1001albumsin10years
  2. Frank Sinatra & Antônio Carlos Jobim – Francis Albert Sinatra & Antônio Carlos Jobim (1967) | 1001albumsin10years

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