May 12, 2009

A Where Are You? sampler

Let me take you down, 'cause I'm going to -- Si-na-tra-land...

Based on the fact this is a photograph taken in March 1956 of the first recording session held in the newly constructed Capitol Records "Circular Tower," and Frankie is conducting the orchestra, I'd say this is a session for the Frank Sinatra Conducts Tone Poems of Color album. And since Nelson Riddle is in the hizouse (just under Frank's left armpit), I'd guess the song being recorded is Riddle's contribution to that album, "Gold." But I'm struck at how nonchalant the crooner seems to be about revealing to all involved his thinning hair, a subject about which he was no doubt touchy.

I mean, my God, he practically extended the fashion of men wearing hats for at least another decade (until The Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan) due to his "need" for them. The cover art for Where Are You? was clearly painted from a photograph taken at this recording session. Again, I find it to be so revealing of the singer's mood at the time that he allowed this to be used as the cover. He must have been in one of his emotional troughs.

The first album Sinatra recorded (April 10-May 1, 1957) at Capitol without Nelson Riddle, as well as the first he recorded in stereo, Where Are You was one of four classic downbeat ballad albums he made between 1955 and 1959 (In the Wee Small Hours, Where Are You?, Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely, and No One Cares).

Ladies and gentleman, the lush strings of Gordon Jenkins:

"Where Are You?" (Harold Adamson, Jimmy McHugh)

"Maybe You'll Be There" (Sammy Gallop, Rube Bloom)

"Maybe You'll Be There" was a song Gordon Jenkins had much experience with, as he and Orchestra released a version in 1948, which lasted 30 weeks on the chart, peaking at #3. The 1948 version was Jenkins' first charting record.

"Lonely Town" (Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden, Adolph Green)

New York, New York, or a village in I-o-way (I love that)
The only difference is the name
If you're alone, whether on Main Street or on Broadway
If you're alone, they are both the same
A town's a lonely town
When you pass through and there is no one waiting
there for you
Then it's a lonely town

In all it's sturm und drang heaviness:

"I'm a Fool to Want You" (Frank Sinatra, Jack Wolf, Joel Herron)

Nice job on the video!

"I Think of You" (Jack Elliot, Dan Marcotte)


Amy said...

Have you heard this? I just saw this today:
a Sinatra-Scorsese film?

Chris said...

I'm on it -- it's my next post, as a matter of fact. Thank you for thinking of me and bringing it to my attention!