Frank Sinatra – Point of No Return

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More Point of No Return

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  • This vintage stereo pressing of Sinatra’s 1962 release boasts outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
  • Both sides are big and full, with a nice extended top end and wonderfully present vocals
  • About as quiet as they come — Mint Minus Minus on both sides (with two issues, noted below)
  • “… someone persuaded the singer to make the album a special occasion by reuniting with Axel Stordahl, the arranger/conductor who helped Sinatra rise to stardom in the ’40s. Sinatra would never sing these standards with such detailed, ornate orchestrations, and, as such, the album has a feeling of an elegy.”

Check out the AMG review for the story behind the album, which teams Frank up with his former collaborator Axel Stordahl, who arranged and conducted the album. The results are wonderful.

We love doing the work that it takes to find Sinatra albums from his prime recording days that actually sound the way we want them to — lively and fun. This means slogging through lots of bad pressings in order to find gems like this one. But hey, that’s what we do. We love it when a record with music this good can be found with sound like this.

Believe me, these Capitol pressings don’t usually sound like this. From the very first notes you hear Billy May’s colorful arrangments come to life in a way you are very unlikely to have heard before.

What do the best Hot Stamper Sinatra pressings give you?

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

Tubey Magic Is Key

The best copies have the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records cannot even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What to Listen For (WTLF)

Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top (to keep the strings from becoming shrill) did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren’t veiled or smeary of course. So many things can go wrong on a record! We know, we heard them all.

And we know a fair bit about the man’s recordings at this point. As of today, we’ve done commentaries for more than 21 different Sinatra shootouts, and that’s not counting at least another ten titles that either bombed or were sold off years ago.

We’ve searched high and low for his records and played them by the score over the years. We plan to keep a good supply on to the site in the coming years so watch for new arrivals in the Vocal section (linked to the left).

TRACK LISTING

Side One

When the World Was Young 
I’ll Remember April 
September Song 
A Million Dreams Ago 
I’ll See You Again 
There Will Never Be Another You

Side Two

Somewhere Along the Way 
It’s a Blue World 
These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You)
As Time Goes By 
I’ll Be Seeing You 
Memories of You

AMG Review

“… someone persuaded the singer to make the album a special occasion by reuniting with Axel Stordahl, the arranger/conductor who helped Sinatra rise to stardom in the ’40s; he also arranged the vocalist’s first Capitol session, so his presence gave a nice sense of closure to the Capitol era… Point of No Return remains a touching farewell, consisting of moving renditions of standards like “September Song,” “There Will Never Be Another You,” “I’ll Remember April,” and “These Foolish Things,” with only three charts being replications of their previous work (“I’ll Be Seeing You,” “September Song,” “These Foolish Things”). Sinatra would never sing these standards with such detailed, ornate orchestrations, and, as such, the album has a feeling of an elegy.