- An outstanding copy of That’s Life, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to the last
- Incredibly big, rich and Tubey Magical, with especially breathy, present vocals that put Frank Sinatra front and center between your speakers
- “That’s Life continued Frank Sinatra’s streak of commercially successful albums that straddled the line between traditional and contemporary pop music. Adding more pop music techniques to his repertoire of show tunes, That’s Life made contemporary pop concessions while satisfying Sinatra’s own taste for weightier, more respected material.”
This original Reprise LP has the MIDRANGE MAGIC that’s missing from the later reissues. It gives you the sense that Frank Sinatra is right in front of you.
He’s no longer a recording — he’s a living, breathing person. We call that “the breath of life,” and this record has it in spades. His voice is rich, sweet, and free of any artificiality. You immediately find yourself lost in the music, because there’s no “sound” to distract you.
Reprise pressings — like every label’s pressings — are all over the map. When you find a good one, you can be pretty sure it’s the exception, not the rule.
We know a fair bit about the man’s recordings at this point. As of today we’ve done commentaries for 30 different Sinatra shootouts, and that’s not even counting the other titles that either bombed or were sold off years ago.
What the Best Sides of That’s Life 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 1966
- 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.
An Orchestra Needs This Kind of Space
One of the qualities that we don’t talk about on the site nearly enough is the SIZE of the record’s presentation. Some copies of the album just sound small — they don’t extend all the way to the outside edges of the speakers, and they don’t seem to take up all the space from the floor to the ceiling. In addition, the sound can often be recessed, with a lack of presence and immediacy in the center.
Other copies — my notes for these copies often read “BIG and BOLD” — create a huge soundfield, with plenty of room for all of the players. These copies are not brighter, they’re not more aggressive, they’re not hyped-up in any way, they’re just bigger and clearer.
And most of the time those very special pressings are just plain more involving. When you hear a copy that does all that — a copy like this one — it’s an entirely different listening experience.
What We’re Listening For on That’s Life
- 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.
I Will Wait For You
Somewhere My Love
Sand And Sea
What Now My Love
Give Her Love
Tell Her (You Love Her Each Day)
The Impossible Dream
You’re Gonna Hear From Me
Following the across-the-board success of Strangers in the Night, That’s Life continued Frank Sinatra’s streak of commercially successful albums that straddled the line between traditional and contemporary pop music. Adding more pop music techniques to his repertoire of show tunes, That’s Life made contemporary pop concessions while satisfying Sinatra’s own taste for weightier, more respected material.