- A Swingin’ Affair finally makes its Hot Stamper debut here with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish – and the vinyl is as quiet as any we’ve heard on a late-50s Sinatra album
- This superb pressing will put Frank Sinatra directly between your speakers, with his voice sounding as tonally correct and natural as we heard all day
- Nelson Riddle and his orchestra back Frank with wonderful arrangements, and a copy like this lets you appreciate everyone’s hard work
- This record plays Mint Minus Minus – about as quiet as any early Capitol pressing you’re likely to ever hear
- 5 stars: “[A Swingin’ Affair!] exudes a self-assured, confident aura. It is a hard, jazzy album.”
This vintage Capitol Mono LP has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern pressings cannot 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.). The music is not so much about the details in the recording, but rather in trying to recreate a solid, palpable, real Frank Sinatra singing live in your listening room. The best copies have an uncanny way of doing just that.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of older recordings (this one is now 64 years old), 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 can serve as a guide.
What the Best Sides of A Swingin’ Affair 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 1957
- 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.
What We’re Listening For on A Swingin’ Affair
- 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.
Night And Day
I Wish I Were In Love Again
I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin’
I Guess I’ll Have To Change My Plan
Nice Work If You Can Get It
Stars Fell On Alabama
No One Ever Tells You
I Won’t Dance
The Lonesome Road
At Long Last Love
You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To
I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good
From This Moment On
If I Had You
Oh! Look At Me Now
In some ways, A Swingin’ Affair! is “Songs for Swingin’ Lovers!, Pt. 2,” following the same formula of Sinatra’s hit album of the previous year. Beneath the surface, there are enough variations on A Swingin’ Affair! to make it a distinctive, and equally enjoyable listen. The most noticeable difference between the two records is their basic approach. Where Songs for Swingin’ Lovers! swung hard but managed to stay rather light, A Swingin’ Affair! is a forceful, brassy album — it exudes a self-assured, confident aura. It is a hard, jazzy album. However, the attack is more brash.