- This outstanding Capitol stereo pressing boasts incredible Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides
- On this superb pressing you’ll hear Billy May’s arrangements – just brass, no strings or winds – blasting behind Sinatra like never before
- This was Sinatra’s final swing session with Capitol and on a pressing as good as this one you can tell he and the band are having a blast
- “…his intense, speedy energy gives the album an edge that distinguishes the record… it [has] enough genuine gems to make it necessary.”
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.
This album is possibly unique for the orchestral arrangement and stereophonic set-up by Billy May. Due to Capitol’s signature “full-spectrum Stereo sound,” the audience can distinctly hear the placement of specific orchestral pieces in the studio at the time of the recording, i.e. differences in brass sections from left, to right, to all together in the center. This is most apparent to the apt listener in the album’s opening hit, “Day by Day.”
What the best sides of Come Swing With Me! 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 in 1961
- 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 studio space
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.
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
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).
What do the best Hot Stamper pressings of Come Swing With Me! 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.
Day By Day
Almost Like Being In Love
Five Minutes More
American Beauty Rose
On The Sunny Side Of The Street
Don’t Take Your Love From Me
That Old Black Magic
I’ve Heard That Song Before
Arranged by Billy May, Come Swing with Me! was Frank Sinatra’s final swing session for Capitol Records.
The album falls somewhere between the carefree Come Fly with Me and the hard-swinging Come Dance with Me!, borrowing elements of the humor of Fly and the intense, driving rhythms of Dance. Recorded without strings or saxes, the brass-heavy sound of the album was noticeable, but it wasn’t nearly as distinctive as the ping-ponging stereo effects of the album.
With its extreme stereo separation, Come Swing with Me! has a bizzare, off-kilter feel that is accentuated by Sinatra’s restless vocals. At the time of recording the album, Sinatra was also recording I Remember Tommy for Reprise and his affections were with his new label. That doesn’t mean he sounds careless on Come Swing with Me! — in fact, his intense, speedy energy gives the album an edge that distinguishes the record. The album might not be as special as his two previous May collaborations, but it does have enough genuine gems to make it necessary.