Paul R. from HOLLYWOOD, FL Reviewed on 2/13/2016...
This disc contains many of the best and greatest song arrangements and performances Sinatra ever recorded including "One for My Baby" (perhaps the greatest song he did) and "The Lady is a Tramp." The sound is excellent, and even though some may not care for the big band style arrangements (personally, I'd prefer a solo piano for more intimacy), Sinatra manages to put all of these classics across in a completely masterly way. Bob Dylan's most recent cd is actually a tribute to this material, which he says he always liked. I'm with him; it's great stuff.
Remastering some of the best of Sinatra's Fifties songs
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 02/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First, kudos to Bob Norberg for his great job of remastering the twenty songs collected on "Classic Sinatra." I rarely notice the quality of recordings when I listen to them, so if I actually sit up and pay attention to the crisp clarity of these classic recordings then you know they have to be pretty good. This 2000 collection is one of the albums in the running for the title of the best one-disc compilation covering Sinatra's Capitol period (1953-1960). With the music arranged and conducted by Nelson Riddle, these are songs that reflect the period when Sinatra cemented his reputation as one of the greatest singers of the 20th century (I have no problem with handing him the top spot, but enjoy friendly debate).Most of these songs represent Sinatra with singing songs including Cole Porter's "I Get a Kick Out of You," "You Make Me Feel So Young," Rodgers & Hart's "The Lady is a Tramp," and "Come Fly With Me." But as great as Sinatra is at swing, his mastery is best displayed in his saloon songs. "My Funny Valentine" is recorded at a perfect tempo that takes full advantage of Sinata's unparalleled phrasing and makes this the definitive recording of the Rodgers & Hart tune. Equally great is his superb "In the Wee Small Hours," the title track from his first LP where he captured the sense of heartbreak and loneliness that we have all assumed came out of his breakup with Ava Gardner. Again, Riddle comes up with the perfect arrangement to set the stage for the devastating vocals. Add "One for My Baby (And One More for the Road)" and you have the three crown jewels of Sinatra as the ultimate saloon singer.Even though this is a collection of Sinatra tunes pulled from various albums "Classic Sinatra" still serves as a reminder that to really enjoy Sinatra you have to listen to his concept albums. This is not really a Sinatra "hits" collection, at least not by Billboard standards. Only a few of these songs charted as singles: "All the Way" (#2), "Witchcraft" (#6), "Nice 'n' Easy" (#60). That was because when Sinatra released an LP in the Fifties you were supposed to listen to the whole thing and he put out most of his greatest albums in that decade. The other thing to be aware of is that a lot of what you hear here is not necessarily the definitive Sinatra version of these songs because Sinatra kept working at these songs over the rest of his career. There are a couple of live versions of "The Lady is a Tramp" that are even better than what you have here, and every Sinatra fan will be able to point other tracks here where they can find a version they like better. But even if you want to make an argument that these songs just establish ground level for Sinatra, his bottom floor is way higher than the ceilings of the fast majority of vocalists who ever recorded in the 20th century."
At the Top of His Game
Ben Alba | Chicago, IL | 05/01/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I came of age musically in the 1970s, which is when I first became acquainted with Frank Sinatra. By this time, his voice had long been in decline, and he was experimenting with questionable contemporary material like "It's Not Easy Being Green" and that hideous disco version of "Night and Day." I did like him then, but he sounded tired bellowing his way through latter-day concert versions of his 1950s-era hits. Yes, he sang as if he had lived his songs, but I still wondered why his longtime fans consistently used superlatives to describe him.Acquiring this CD and listening to The Voice upclose and personal finally awakened me to the genius that everybody has been applauding for generations. The Capitol-era Sinatra possessed a rare combination of subtlety, control, spontaneity, and swagger that are evident on these classic '50s sides. I can feel the lilt in his step on "I've Got the World on a String" and the fragility and heartbreak in "One for My Baby." His phrasing of "Come Dance with Me" and "I Get a Kick Out of You" ("It would bore me terriFFFFFFFF - ic'ly too") is delightfully playful and inspired. It is now obvious to me why so many regard Sinatra as the quintessential American pop singer.If you're new to Sinatra and overwhelmed by the avalanche of CDs to choose from, you'll have no regrets buying this one first."
Nice repackaging of classic Sinatra tunes...
Jon Warshawsky | San Diego, CA USA | 04/25/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There is probably no way that anyone can take 20 songs from Sinatra's Capitol years and NOT come up with a five-star album. That said, this is one of the better Best of packages, and I would recommend it to anyone who has not already bought the Best of the Capitol Years or, better still, the original concept albums. Songs like It Happened in Monterey and Put Your Dreams Away are more imaginative and deserving selections than those on the numerous other Capitol Sinatra compilations. This set also earns high marks for original recordings, avoiding the awful studio-engineered duet trap that marred the otherwise okay Sinatra 80th 2-CD set.If this is your only Sinatra purchase, you are missing the enjoyment of the concept albums, which were assembled carefully to create a mood and an experience -- swinging, melancholy, etc. Ironically (or maybe not!), the best songs on the concept albums were not always the opening tracks (Come Fly with Me, Come Dance with Me,...), and by limiting yourself to this set you may be missing some great tunes.There are several less available concept albums, such as Close to You (mentioned by another reviewer below)and No One Cares, but these are not represented here -- which would have made this set much more attractive to Sinatraphiles who already own everything on Classic Sinatra. Capitol would have served us better by finding something new in the Sinatra archives (such as the great 1957 Seattle concert released last year!) rather than resequencing admittedly great songs that were already readily available. In the meantime, I would strongly recommend to serious fans to find used copies of the more obscure Capitol albums: they do exist on CD, and if you are patient you can find them reasonably priced on eBay or other auction sites. Or you can buy the big Capitol set for a few hundred dollars..."
Great sampler of his "concept" albums
Aaron | Washington DC | 03/29/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you are a big enough fan to own all of Sinatra's 50s concept albums, then you really do not need this CD as the songs are all from those albums. However, this is a wonderful sampler for casual Sinatra fans and it includes all his greatest songs from that era (I particularly like "One More for My Baby.") If you want to get one of the actual full albums from this era of Sinatra, start with Songs for Swingin' Lovers - it's terrific!"
A Must Have For One Simple Reason...
bimmernut | Iowa City, IA USA | 10/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While it's true that most of the songs on this well-done chronological collection are available on other CDs in the Sinatra catalog, this particular CD contains a genuine rarity---"Put Your Dreams Away". Considering that this song was Sinatra's closing theme for a number of years, it's great to finally have this lovely ballad available in CD format in the United States. That song alone is worth the price of admission for Sinatraphiles.As others have pointed out, if you are new to the music of Frank Sinatra or are simply wondering what the fuss is all about, this CD is a good introduction to the man and his music, but once you've bought the CD and listened to these songs, you'd be much better served by building a collection of the Capitol CDs from which these songs were culled. Not only are there other stellar performances on the concept albums ("I Get Along Without You Very Well" on In The Wee Small Hours, "April In Paris" on Come Fly With Me, and "Angel Eyes" on Sinatra Sings For Only The Lonely to name but three of dozens), by listening to the albums in their entirety you'll have the chance to hear them as Sinatra intended. For even more authenticity, try listening without the bonus tracks Capitol tagged on to the end of most CDs. Then you'll have a much better sense of the man's genius and the magic of his collaboration with his arrangers---he was one of the first artists on a major label, if not THE first, to have creative control over the content of his recordings.By all means, buy this CD and enjoy it. The recording quality is very good overall although the volume seems to modulate a bit too much between tracks making the transitions between moods even more abrupt. Once it has whetted your appetite, however, get those other Capitol CDs but don't forget to check out the used CD bins or eBay for the gems that Capitol has thoughtlessly deleted from their Catalog (Close To You, Where Are You, and No One Cares). And grab the enjoyable Capitol Complete Singles Collection while you're at it for an audio journey through the "juke box" recordings that kept Sinatra on the minds of the record-buying and movie-going public between his album releases.Starting with this CD will introduce to an enormous discography from a man who truly was one of the hardest working men in show business."