Frank Sinatra – The Concert Sinatra – Our Shootout Winner from 2010

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

This stereo pressing has SUPER HOT stamper sound on both sides, which means it was one of the best copies in our recent shootout, the first we’ve done since 2006 (!).

Folks, when we say that clean, good sounding Sinatra records are hard to come by, we are not kidding. It took us five years to find enough copies of this title to do a proper shootout. In that time an awful lot of bad LPs passed passed through our hands: the monos (never heard a good one), the reissues (ditto), imports, and, most commonly, original stereo pressings in beat-to-death condition. People loved Sinatra and played his records until the grooves were gone.

This album ranks right up there with the best of the Reprise era musically; recorded in 1963, Sinatra was still in his prime.

For audiophiles, the amount of effort that went into the recording, effort that actually paid off, is what will impress the most about The Concert Sinatra. The 73 musicians you see stretched out across the soundstage at Samual Goldwyn Studios behind Sinatra will give you some idea of the size and scope of the sound. With 24 mics feeding 8 tracks of 35MM recording film, this was the sonic equivalent of Gone With the Wind. No expense or effort was spared.

Fortunately for those of us who are still playing records forty-odd years on, this special project took place before the advent of the transistor, which means that all the Tubey Magic of the singer and his all-encompassing orchestra was captured on the “tape”.

Ah, but how much of that sound made it to the record itself, that’s always the rub with records isn’t it?

In this case, plenty. There may be a touch of smear (you can most easily hear it in the strings) but the sound is so RICH and Tubey Magical that you will barely be aware it. Your attention should instead be focused on the superb feel the man has for this music.

One thing to pay special attention to, especially if you have other copies of the album, is that Sinatra’s voice on both sides of this pressing always sounds natural even at its loudest. There is no strain or hardness. That, among many other things, is what separates the best copies from the also-rans (and, of course, all the reissues, which tend to have gritty, harsh vocals which quickly get unbearably edgy in the louder parts).

Half-Speed Mastered Heavy Vinyl

Mobile Fidelity has remastered this title as part of their Sinatra series. If you like the sound of the records they’re making these days you might want to check it out. It will certainly cost you a lot less than ours will.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

I Have Dreamed
My Heart Stood Still
Lost in the Stars
Ol’ Man Riverug

Side Two

You’ll Never Walk Alone Bewitched
This Nearly Was Mine
Soliloquy

AMG  Review

The Concert Sinatra is one of Frank Sinatra’s best records of the early ’60s, an album that successfuly rearranges a selection of show tunes, primarily those composed by Richard Rodgers, for the concert stage… Sinatra is given the opportunity to demonstrate his full emotional range, from the melodrama of “Ol’ Man River” to the tender romanticisim of “Bewitched,” which helps make The Concert Sinatra one of his most fulfilling albums of the era.

Amazon

This misleadingly titled 1963 collaboration with Nelson Riddle is not a live album, but rather a collection of eight numbers (half of them Rodgers and Hammerstein compositions) from popular stage musicals. It’s not exactly the swinging Sinatra of myth and legend, but it does make for a stunning musical experience; the Chairman is in great voice, and he scales the explosive orchestral peaks of Riddle’s arrangements with the confidence of a mountain climber on methedrine. His versions of “Ol’ Man River” and “Soliloquy” are big improvements over his Columbia-era attempts, and “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” “My Heart Stood Still,” and “Lost in the Stars” are positively breathtaking. — Dan Epstein