Some sections on our site are hard to find. Here’s one with lots of cool records in it:
A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame .
Presented with the less-than-captivating cover and title of Days of Wine and Roses, we were put off by our first impression; that of a budget thrown-together compilation, brought even lower by the fairly generic shot of Old Blue Eyes on the cover. We didn’t think an album that looked like this could possibly contain the swinging (or deeply emotional, both are fine with us) Sinatra music we’ve grown to love from his best Capitol- and Reprise-era releases.
A textbook case of Live and Learn if there ever was one.
It’s true, we admit to having judged this book by its cover back in 2014. We frankly didn’t see much potential, but that was before we had played it. Then, and only then, were we able to recognize and appreciate what a superbly recorded classic Sinatra album it was.
It’s our favorite kind of record. According to conventional wisdom it’s not worth anyone’s time. Instead it’s one of the best of the Sinatra releases from the mid-’60s (and, as we noted above, sonically right up at the top of all his albums).
For our first Hot Stamper listing in 2014 we had written:
One of the best sounding Reprise-era Sinatra recordings we know of.
Having just listened to a slough of top Sinatra titles, I feel it’s my duty to inform the record buying public — at least that small fraction of the public that comes to this site — that the above statement is somewhat inaccurate. It should have read:
One of the best sounding Sinatra recordings we know of from any era.
And the reason for the change is simple enough: I simply cannot recall ever hearing a better sounding Frank Sinatra record in my life.
He Invented the Concept
It’s not a compilation, it’s a theme album, a favorite approach of Sinatra’s — he’s often credited with inventing the form — containing the best Oscar-winning standards from the last 40 years. Ad what great songs they are: Days of Wine and Roses, Moon River, Three Coins in the Fountain, Swinging on a Star, It Might As Well Be Spring, Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing, and many more. Really, there’s not a dog in the bunch.
And never discount Nelson Riddle’s arrangements – as is par for the course they’re brilliant. Somehow Riddle managed to arrange five (5!) albums for Sinatra in 1964 alone. How he kept to the high standards that Sinatra set for him (and that he no doubt set for himself) is beyond me.
Big and clear, with rich, Tubey Magical breathy vocals. More space, less distortion, more relaxed, tonally correct from top to bottom — this one was a big step up over every other copy we played.
Every bit as good. Listen to how full-bodied and rich the brass sounds on this side — when has a Sinatra record ever had brass like that?! Ellington, yes, but Sinatra? It sets a standard that will be very hard for any other album, or any other pressing of this very album, to meet.
The mono pressings of this album — like so many of Sinatra’s stereo recordings released in mono — were a joke compared to these wonderful stereo records.