- Sinatra’s Reprise swan song finally arrives on the site with KILLER Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound throughout
- It’s as rich, warm and natural as any copy we have ever heard, with wonderful transparency and plenty of studio ambience, especially considering this is a recording from 1981, not 1961
- “A thought-provoking set of torch songs with soaring strings, lyrics fraught with loss and regret, and heart-rending, world-weary vocals”
- “She Shot Me Down is Frank Sinatra’s last great album, a dark, brooding record of saloon songs delivered with an understated authority… It’s a dense, moody record that works spectacularly — Sinatra’s vocals are more alive and rich in detail than on Trilogy, and the concept is more concise and well-executed.”
This vintage Reprise pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely begin to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing any sign of coming back.
Having done this for so long, we understand and appreciate that rich, full, solid, Tubey Magical sound is key to the presentation of this primarily vocal music. We rate these qualities higher than others we might be listening for (e.g., bass definition, soundstage, depth, etc.).
Hot Stamper sound is rarely about the details of a given recording. In the case of this album, more than anything else a Hot Stamper must succeed at recreating a solid, palpable, real Frank Sinatra singing live in your listening room. The better copies have an uncanny way of doing just that.
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 less than one out of 100 new records do, if our experience with the hundreds we’ve played over the years can serve as a guide.
What the best sides of She Shot Me Down have to offer is not hard to hear:
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes even as late as 1981
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the studio
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
We want to give a special shoutout here to conductor/arranger Gordon Jenkins, who also handled the same duties on Nilsson’s Must Own classic A Little Touch Of Schmillson in The Night. It’s yet another wonderfully well-produced album of standards that deserves a place in any serious record collection.
Jenkins worked with Nat King Cole on four albums for Capitol: Love Is the Thing (1957), The Very Thought of You (1958), Every Time I Feel the Spirit (1960) and Where Did Everyone Go? (1963).
He did three albums with Sinatra for Capitol: A Jolly Christmas From Frank Sinatra (1957), Where Are You? (1957) and No One Cares (1959) and five more after Sinatra moved to Reprise: All Alone (1962), September of My Years (1965), Ol’ Blue Eyes Is Back (1973), “Future” suite – Trilogy: Past Present Future (1980) and She Shot Me Down (1981).
What We’re Listening For on She Shot Me Down
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- 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 common to most LPs.
- Tight, note-like bass with clear fingering — which ties in with good transient information, as well as 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 players.
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, way behind the speakers. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would have put them.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Good Thing Going
Hey Look, No Crying
Thanks For The Memory
Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)
Monday Morning Quarterback
South – To A Warmer Place
I Loved Her
The Gal That Got Away/It Never Entered My Mind (Medley)
She Shot Me Down is Frank Sinatra’s last great album, a dark, brooding record of saloon songs delivered with an understated authority by Sinatra. Arranged and conducted by Gordon Jenkins and produced by Don Costa, the record largely consists of contemporary material, including five that were basically tailored for Sinatra. It’s a dense, moody record that works spectacularly — Sinatra’s vocals are more alive and rich in detail than on Trilogy, and the concept is more concise and well-executed. She Shot Me Down might not consist of the classic saloon songs, but it has that feeling more than any of his other albums.