Best Of Columbia Years 1943-52 [4-CD SET] Box set, Import
This four-disc, 97-track collection compiles the highlights of the first major period of Frank Sinatra's solo career, beginning with 1943's "Close To You," and ending with 1952's "Why Try to Change Me Now." Sinatra was the preeminent singing idol of American teenagers (the female ones, at least) during this period, thanks to the dreamily smooth crooning style he exhibits here on "People Will Say We're in Love," "I Should Care," "Embraceable You," and dozens of others. Sometimes the still-callow singer isn't up to the material ("Ol' Man River"), sometimes the material isn't worthy of the singer ("The Hucklebuck"), and Sinatra would certainly go on to greater artistic achievements during his Capitol and Reprise years. Still, this box set is an absolutely essential purchase for any self-respecting Sinatra fan. --Dan Epstein
ディスク２はバラードだけでなく「ＢＥＧＩＮ ＴＨＥ ＢＥＧＵＩＮＥ」のような軽快なスウィングナンバーや「ＦＩＶＥ ＭＩＮＵＴＥＳ ＭＯＲＥ」のような小粋にスウィングする曲も入っています。バラードもディスク１に劣りません。
ディスク３は再びバラードづくしです。「ＴＨＥ ＳＯＮＧ ＩＳ ＹＯＵ」や「ＮＩＧＨＴ ＡＮＤ ＤＡＹ」などシナトラが生涯に渡って歌い続けた曲の他に、「ＴＨＥ ＭＵＳＩＣ ＳＴＯＰＰＥＤ」などのロマンティックな曲が収められています。
ディスク４になると半分弱をスウィング曲が占めます。「ＢＹＥ ＢＹＥ ＢＡＢＹ」は出だしを聴くだけでアメリカの華やかさが味わえるスウィング曲です。３曲目の「ＴＨＡＴ ＬＵＣＫＹ ＯＬＤ ＳＵＮ」は非常に力強く素晴らしい名唱です。後のキャピトル、リプリーズ時代を予感させるものがあります。
「ＬＯＮＤＯＮ ＢＹ ＮＩＧＨＴ」は地味ながらも美しいバラードです。「Ⅰ’Ｍ Ａ ＦＯＯＬ ＴＯ ＷＡＮＴ ＹＯＵ」はシナトラの中でも１番のブルーバラードでしょう。こんなに切ない曲もそうはありません。「ＤＥＥＰ ＮＩＧＨＴ」はハリージェイムスとの再会セッションで聴き応え十分です。シナトラの声もキャピトル時代の前半と変わりがありません。「ＴＨＥ ＢＩＲＴＨ ＯＦ ＴＨＥ ＢＬＵＥＳ」はコロンビア時代最後の熱唱です。
The period of Sinatra's career that I was least familiar was when he was at Columbia. (I was born the year he recorded his last song for the label.) But to ignore this stage of his career would be a mistake. Sinatra was 27 when he signed with Columbia in 1942. During his stay at Columbia, Sinatra placed more than three dozen songs in the Top 40, including two No. 1's--"Five Minutes More" in 1946 and "Mamselle" in 1947 (all of them included here).
There is a 68-page booklet with several essays, lots of photos and track-by-track information on each song. If you think you know Sinatra from his Capitol and Reprise years, you only know part of the story. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED [Running Time - Disc 1, 75:36; Disc 2, 74:11; Disc 3, 76:01; Disc 4, 76:26]
In fact, Sinatra was arguably a better pure vocalist in 1944 or 1945 than he would ever be again. The young Frank was the Voice, with an impressive range, perfect pitch, smoothness and great feel for the often sophisticated lyrics he sang. True, the earliest recordings on disc 1 sound somewhat dated, but by the 2nd of the 4 discs in this set, the music begins to rival anything Sinatra ever recorded. The overall quality of this set is impressive. True, his later recordings of "Nancy with the Laughing Face" and some other classics are an improvement on the early originals in this set, but his ballads are the epitome of smooth during his young Columbia years. You can hear for yourself what all the female screaming was about.
Extra bonus treat for Baby Boomers: Sinatra's take on "Try a Little Tenderness" (young girls they do get weary) from 1944, 22 years before Otis Redding made it a hit. Not saying its better than the soul classic, but Frank's take was certainly a fine one a very long time before we ever heard it done.
The maturing, confident Sinatra of the Columbia years in the '40s and early '50s reveals a resonant and deepening voice (compared to the Dorsey years) that combines with a gentleness and tenderness that had to appeal not only to bobby-soxers (whose younger sisters, seduced by early rock, would not find the Sinatra of the Capitol years ten years later anywhere as appealing) but also to their mothers and older sisters who, lonely keeping the home fires burning, were waiting for husbands and lovers to return from war. Anyone who remembers the '40s with anything approaching fondness will find memories forcefully stirred, and those who know those heady times only second- or third-hand will be equally stirred by a musical master whose style and command of the standards matched Bing and Perry's and perhaps, for strength and intimacy, even surpassed theirs.