Friday, June 3, 2011

Frank Friday! Frank Sinatra: Close Up

Review # 6
Artist: Frank Sinatra
Title: Close Up
Format: LP (X2)
Label: Capitol
Year: 1970
Songs: 20

Welcome to the first "Frank Friday" post, in which I take an opporunity to review some Frank Sinatra and in doing so avoid having to review too many of his records all at once when I get to "S." Close Up is a double LP set that is more or less an extended collection of the greatest hits from the Capitol Records years of Sinatra's career. There's a lot of well known Sinatra recordings here: "From Here to Eternity," "(Love is) The Tender Trap," "Love and Marriage," and many others.  I picked this record up at a library book sale for a buck. Unfortunately, I only inspected one of the records very closely.  Thus, disc one is a bit warped. It only affects the first couple of songs on each side of the disc, but it's a little nauseating to listen to those songs. It doesn't distort the tracks beyond recognition, or even comically, it just makes it sound like Frank and the band are a little drunk.

Most of the songs on these records are the swinging Sinatra stuff. The fun stuff that most people think of when they think of Sinatra, along with some of the well known romantic ones like "Everybody Loves Somebody." These songs are considered by a lot of Sinatra fans to be his best material. Definitely classics, but I tend to prefer the moodier and more introspective songs Sinatra recorded in the 1960s on the Reprise label. That, however, is a different story we'll get into another time. There are some fine tunes on this collection, make no mistake. "Young at Heart," for example, is one of my favorite of the many songs Frank sang during his extensive career. There are also a couple I don't like as well. I've only just recently gotten to where I can listen to "Love and Marriage." For the longest time, I couldn't disassociate it from the show Married with Children, and for that reason it's still not one of my favorites.

A couple of interesting features of this collection: The last three songs all have the word "dream" in the title, and the song that precedes them, "I Believe," also mentions dreams several times in its lyrics. I guess whoever put this collection together wanted to create a theme here. Also, while this isn't that unusual, this record is in "duophonic" sound, which, if I understand correctly, was essentially an attempt make monophonic recordings sound like stereo.  Hard core audiophiles disapprove of this process, and I believe it's not used anymore. I only recently heard about this, so that's interesting to me.

Overall, this is a nice collection of songs, even though many of them appear on other Frank Sinatra recordings in my collection. It also has a cool gatefold cover (which unfortunately has seen much better days) with a bunch of pictures of Frank in the studio inside. Worth a buck, definitely.

Songs listened so far: 81

No comments: