|Nothing But the Best (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
The following is my response to Stephen T. McCarthy at Battle of the Bands.
My parents had a nice little collection of albums prior to the time I started accumulating my own collection. When I say little, I'm guessing that they might have had anywhere from 100 to 200 vinyl LP's at any given time. The life of an album was probably relatively short-lived in our household because to be honest they didn't take the best of care of their records.
When it came to buying records my father would go to record stores in search of very specific types of albums--invariably any sort of album that had to do with circus, carnival, or something that he construed to have something to do with show business. He rarely looked for the typical pop albums as far as I can recall and for his specialty albums he would pay the market retail prices.
On the other hand, my mother usually bought pop albums, hit compilations, or a variety of other albums that she found in the bargain priced bins in places like the supermarket or variety stores. There were albums by artists such as Francis Bay Orchestra, Perez Prado, Ray Coniff, and many others whose albums somehow wound up being sold at discounted prices. That's where she must have gotten the Frank Sinatra albums we had in the house prior to 1966.
Looking on the internet now I can't seem to find any albums with all the songs as I remember them. I find all the songs I remember, but not on the same album. If I'm remembering correctly there was one album that consisted of Sinatra's older material such as "That Old Feeling", "Paradise", "The Nearness of You", "Laura" and some others. Then there was the lusher material from the 50's such as "I Can't Get Started", "Moonlight in Vermont", "Try a Little Tenderness", "I Cover the Waterfront", and others that came from the Billy May/Nelson Riddle albums.
I'm thinking that there were some compilations that were available then that are not available now. On the other hand my memory could be just totally faulty about this, but I'm not positive about this. The way I played those albums the song line-ups should be etched in my memory, but then that was 50 years ago and a lot of memory could be blended in with all the other albums between then and now.
Seriously though I played the heck out of those Sinatra albums in my junior high school days. I probably listened to them more than my mother did. In quiet times when I was alone and in a contemplative mood I'd put on one of the Sinatra albums and immerse myself in the words and music. Sometimes I'd concoct secret agent movies in my head using the songs in the imaginary soundtrack. Some of those plots I wrote down and probably still have them somewhere in my old papers.
At this time I was also listening to a lot of Tijuana Brass, Beach Boys, and Jan & Dean so to lump Sinatra into my adolescent listening schedule was saying a lot about the nature of the guys music. For me a lot had to do with Sinatra's phrasing. He sang lyrics with such style that it was almost like a melodic conversation. He was telling me something in song and waiting for my response. The sound of the orchestral arrangements didn't hurt either. I'd always had an appreciation for good arrangements and Sinatra had some of the best behind his vocals.
No, I can't ever knock Sinatra because he kept me company and enchanted me for many hours of my younger days. Sinatra was like a cool uncle who made movies that I liked. I still have a distant memory of going to the theater when I was about 6 years old to see Sinatra's film The Joker Is Wild and hearing the beautiful song "All the Way". That was one of my favorite songs when I was a kid and it's always haunted me. That movie made me melancholy whenever I thought back on it. And I thought Sinatra was the best--even better than Elvis who was all the rage at the time but didn't have the cool urban hip of Sinatra.
I wish I could find those Sinatra albums that my mother had--the same songs in the same order. I probably have all the songs in the compilations that I currently have in my CD collection, but I want to go back and have that same exact listening experience. Then again, if I heard it would I remember?
Did you appreciate Frank Sinatra when you were a kid? Do you have a favorite Sinatra film? What music from childhood haunts you the most?