Frank Sinatra – Sinatra ’65 – Our Shootout Winner from 2015

xxxxx

A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Is the title a play off of Capitol’s gazillion selling Beatles ’65? Only Frank really knows.

This original Green and Blue Reprise stereo pressing has the sound we look for — big, rich and tubey. It does vary a bit from track to track but overall we found this copy to be quite enjoyable.

Frank Sinatra led a double-life as a recording artist in the 1960s. One side of him pursued his vision as the nation’s greatest interpreter of American standards (“adult music,” he called it), while another side of him was obsessed with making records that cracked the Nation’s Top 40 playlist (“kiddie pop”).

This album reflects that attitude, with pop tunes produced and arranged by the proven hit-making team of Jimmy Bowen and Ernie Freeman, and standards arranged by Nelson Riddle, Don Costa, and Billy May. In fact, “Sinatra ’65” is very much like “Softly As I Leave” released the year before, a mix of pop tunes and standards, only better.

Two of the songs—“My Kind of Town,” arranged by Nelson Riddle, and “Luck Be A Lady,” arranged by Billy May, went on to join the short list of Sinatra’s greatest and most recognizable signature songs for Reprise Records. Three of the four songs produced and arranged by Jimmy Bowen and Ernie Freeman joined the list of Sinatra pop tunes that reached the Top 40, a list that includes “Strangers in the Night” and “Somethin’ Stupid.”

All in all, the album makes for an entertaining listening experience, but there’s no mistaking the Bowen-Freeman tunes with their heavy emphasis on beat, countrypolitan cadenzas, and doo-wah choir. According to the liner notes, Mssrs. Riddle, May and Costa employed four-or-five piece rhythm sections, while Bowen-Freeman stacked the decked with ten-or-twelve piece rhythms sections. “That’s the basic difference,” says Bowen, “the big, heavy, thumping rhythm section.” Why the heavy rhythm? “That’s where the feeling comes from,” says Bowen. “Feeling is the most important thing in any record.”

Bowen refers to the tunes he recorded with Sinatra as country music. “Every time you do something with a country song or a country flavor you have a better chance of reaching more people than with any other kind of song.” And there you have it, an album of four Bowen-Freeman countrypolitan tunes designed for the masses, and seven standards that defy time and fickle trends, five arranged by Nelson Riddle, and one each by Don Costa and Billy May.

Ricardo Mio, Amazon

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Tell Her (You Love Her Each Day)
Anytime at All
Main Theme From “The Cardinal” (Stay With Me)
I Like to Lead When I Dance
You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me
My Kind of Town

Side Two

When Somebody Loves You
Somewhere in Your Heart
I’ve Never Been in Love Before
When I’m Not Near the Girl I Love
Luck Be a Lady