Frank Sinatra – My Kind of Broadway

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  • This outstanding pressing of Sinatra’s 1965 release boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides
  • Superb Tubey Magical mid-’60s Sinatra sound which was recorded in various sessions from 1961 to 1965
  • The sound on this original Reprise LP is richer, fuller and smoother than most of the other pressings we played
  • “When Sinatra delivers, as he does on the show-stopper “Luck Be a Lady,” the results are pretty spectacular…”

With the Count Basie Orchestra backing him on some tracks (Ev’rybody Has The Right To Be Wrong on side one and Nice Work If You Can Get It and They Can’t Take That Away From Me on side two just to mention a few we especially liked) the swinging Sinatra is heard in his prime and he sounds just great to us.

Without a Song has a killer big band arrangement and a stellar performance from Ol’ Blues Eyes himself.

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 My Kind of Broadway 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 1965
  • 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.

Sinatra’s Standards

The knock on this album is that with nine different arrangers and tracks recorded in different years, consistency is not its strong suit.

But is that really fair? Allmusic complained about the performances and arrangements but we certainly wouldn’t call any track here second rate. Most of the album strikes us as Sinatra at his best, so we’re a little dismayed by the critics’ dismissal of the album. We loved it.

Sinatra set very high standards for his repertoire, his musicians, his arrangements and most of all, his performances. I find no evidence to support the contention that any of the above are lackluster or second-rate on My Kind of Broadway.

If you have any doubts, go to youtube, pull up the album and take a listen to some of the tracks. We can’t find a bad one and we would be surprised if you could either. There are lots of great ones in fact.

What We’re Listening For on My Kind of Broadway

  • 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.

Richness Is Key

Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top 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’ve heard them all.

Top end extension is critical to the sound of the best copies. Lots of old records (and new ones) have no real top end; consequently, the studio or stage will be missing much of its natural air and space, and instruments will lack their full complement of harmonic information.

Tube smear is common to most vintage pressings and this is no exception. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have the least (or none), yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Ev’rybody Has The Right To Be Wrong
Golden Moment
Luck Be A Lady
Lost In The Stars
Hello, Dolly!

Side Two

I’ll Only Miss Her When I Think Of Her
They Can’t Take That Away From Me
Yesterdays
Nice Work If You Can Get It
Have You Met Miss Jones
Without A Song