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Frank Sinatra’s “Come Swing With Me” Reviewed

 

Frank Sinatra’s 1961 16th album Come Swing With Me is also his final  swing album for Capitol Records,  is also one of the weaker efforts.

1 – No Nelson Riddle, we got Billy May instead -possibly because of Billy’s skills with a brass section. The nonstop horns may also have to do with the refining of stereo recording techniques.

2 – The last albums in a contract obligation (in a coupla of albums time, Sinatra’s “Reprise” label  would be born) can always go either way but usually are iffy -greatest hits or live ones, Sinatra got a little experimental with the brass.

3 – Remember quadrophonic sound? Those albums with every instrument coming out everywhere. With stereo coming into its own, Sinatra fumbled the ball on this music blaring oddly from different speakers with no real reason.

4 – Sinatra can’t sing badly, Sinatra is gonna sound like Sinatra at all times. However, having said that: on the Sinatra curve, he isn’t pushing himself at all.

5 – And isn’t helped by the song selection. Some of these songs don’t cut it, around the middle he goes from “American Beauty” to “Yes Indeed” and you will be excused for having your heart sink. On a personal basis, I always loved “Five Minutes” (the Jules Styne song) and I was happy to hear it. Plus, consensus best song on the album “Day By Day,” is real good. The brass doesn’t overwhelm Frank, he swings, not powerfully but with stamina,  for the entire set. It was recorded between March 20th to March 22nd, 1961, and the speed makes it all of a piece but the speed also makes it a little careless (not care free).

6 – It sold pretty well, went top ten in the album charts, but it wasn’t a huge hit and people who haven’t heard Duets consider it his worst album.

7 – It had been ten years of Capitol going from ballads to swing, even for a master, something had to give somewhere, if only for Sinatra’s artistic validity. Say what you will, Come Swing with Me! was no Songs For Swinging Lovers.

Grade: B-

 

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