Classic Sinatra – His Great Performances 1953-1960
Originally published in Record Collector magazine, March 2000
Apologies to Zappaholics, but there was only ever one Frank in popular music. Really. Every home should have a Sinatra CD, and there’s no better place to start than this 20-track chronological overview of his celebrated Capitol years.
There’ll be quibbles over the running time when seven of the famous ‘concept’ albums are ignored, as well as hits like The Tender Trap, Love & Marriage and even Frank’s sole Capitol chart-topper, the sublime Three Coins In The Fountain. And if recent converts are disturbed by the absence of a later track by the name of My Way, it’s only a matter of time before the inevitable Voice Of The Century/Best Of The Capitol & Reprise Years set rectifies the situation, once the Warner-EMI merger is completed.
But this, an exhilarating emotional rollercoaster of a collection, will do for now. Be knocked out by the potent punch of I Get A Kick Out Of You, marvel at the joyousness of Young At Heart, empathise with the desolate despair of One For My Baby and Someone To Watch Over Me, and be seduced by the brassy temptation of Come Fly With Me, Witchcraft and I’ve Got You Under My Skin.
All in all a swaggering demonstration of versatility. Forget the boy from Memphis*, the Fifties belonged to this man. As our own Peter Doggett summed him up, quite simply the greatest entertainer of the 20th century.
Elvis Presley, I think they called him