Top 3 Paring Knife Set with review

When you are ready to buy a paring knife set for your cooking needs or a gift there are several things you need to consider before making a purchase. You will want to determine the balance and sharpness. You will also want to consider the right combination of knives for any kitchen.

With that all said, below you will find our best paring knife reviews and our top 3 choices based on value and real customer reviews.

YOSHIHIRO- Japanese Sushi Chef Kasumi Knife 3p Set

The Yoshihiro Japanese Sushi Chef Kasumi Knife 3 piece set is the perfect choice for those looking to make all types of sushi. It is ideal for beginner to professional chefs.

The Japanese Sushi Chef Kasumi Knife set ranges from 7 inches to 10.7 inches. They are made of two materials; blue or white steel and soft iron. The Yoshihiro set comes with a user guide with full instruction and diagrams, making it easy to use each of the knives.

The ideal choice for food preparers who want the highest rated knife set for making any type of sushi and at a very reasonable price.

The Yoshihiro Japanese Sushi Chef Kasumi Knife 3 piece set is a set of knives that are used for making any type of sushi. Currently, there are sushi knives made by different manufacturers. However, not all of them will meet the requirements of a user. At the same time, most knifes have been known to be hard to maintain and they also stain easily.

The first benefit you will see with the Japanese Sushi Chef Kasumi Knife 3 piece set is the user guide. It comes with a user guide that will help a beginner learn how to use each of the knives. The user guide also has diagrams that help the user understand what they are supposed to do. Most sushi knife sets do not have such a user guide. As a result, they cannot be used by amateurs or people who have never tried to make sushi before.

Features

The features of the knife are also different. For instance, the name Kasumi means mist in Japanese. The name is a result of the mist resembling beautiful waves present on the border of the blade. The blades are made from soft iron and white or blue steel. Maintenance of the Kasumi is easier than any other knife and sharpening should be done using a natural sharpening stone. Other features of the Japanese Sushi Chef Kasumi Knife 3 piece set are:

  1. Deba 7″ Fillet Knife (180mm)
  2. Usuba 7.7″ Vegetable Knife (195mm)
  3. Yanagi 10.7″ Sashimi Knife (270mm)
  4. Bolster Material: Water Buffalo Horn (the color may vary), Handle Material: Magnolia, Blade Material: -Shiroko (high-carbon steel)

Pros

  • It is very durable in comparison to other similar knife sets
  • The knives are very easy to maintain
  • It can be sharpened using a natural sharpening stone
  • It does not stain easily
  • The Japanese Sushi Chef Kasumi Knife 3 piece set comes with a detailed user guide that is helpful to beginners
  • The set is fairly priced making it affordable

Cons

Due to the high demand, finding the Japanese Sushi Chef Kasumi Knife 3 piece set is not easy. A person who is interested in getting it might need to do some online research before they can find a set.

The Japanese Sushi Chef Kasumi Knife 3 piece set can be rated as an excellent set for making any type of sushi. The fact that it comes with a user guide also makes it beneficial to amateurs or people who are learning how to make sushi. It is a fine set for either professionals or novices.

Gunter Wilhelm Cutlery 250 Executive Chef 12-Piece Professional Knife Set with Wooden Storage Block

The Gunter Wilhelm Cutlery 250 Executive Chef 12-Piece Professional Knife Set is the perfect choice for those who need quality knives for everyday use.

Being well balanced helps to easy, proper food preparation.

You get 8 knives – ready to prepare basic or even gourmet meals, including, a Santoku knife, a 10 inch boning knife, a 10 inch Chef’s knife, a Paring knife, an offset Bread knife, a Butcher’s Cleaver, an Asian Cleaver and a Meat Carver. A meat carving fork is also included in the package. Also included are 2 sharpening steels.

This knife set is ideal for the home owner or professional chef.

Wusthof Classic 6-Piece Chef Knife Set: Slicing Delights

The Wusthof Classic 6-Piece Chef Knife Set is the perfect choice when you need to cook food in an efficient manner. It features a durable polymer handle that is contoured for a comfortable grip, laser tested edge for uniform cutting and long-lasting sharp edge, and .

The Wusthof Classic chef knife set includes the following: a boning knife (5 inches), a bread knife (8 inches), a carver (9 inches), a paring knife (3 inches), a chef’s knife (8 inches), and steel used for sharpening knives.

Ideal for newlyweds, college students, professional chefs and home cooking enthusiasts.

Founded in 2015, TheKnivester is the web’s best resource for information and reviews on all sorts of knives. It specializes in providing in depth analytical content that will help you make the best decision possible when purchasing your next knife.

Tips to working the Best Bean Bag chair for Home

Bean bag chairs are kinds of chairs full of various fillings in so that the form isn’t set when compared with regular chairs. It requires the form from the bottom whenever one rests onto it. The best Bean Bag chair happens to be away looking for a lot of many years right now. Time these were launched, everybody really wants to ask them to in order to trip in about the hoopla. These days there are plenty associated with bean bag chair designs which arrived on the scene to provide much more choices in order to purchasers. These types of bean bag chairs happen to be full of various fillings.

Tips to working the Best Bean Bag chair:

These days, bean bags could be full of hair, vinyl fabric, purple velvet, connect chemical dyes, 100 % cotton, and several additional supplies. A few are full of numerous small striper pieces or even drops.

”bean

big bean bag chair for couples

The Best Bean Bag Chair anyone just, however, there’s also larger dimensions with regard to 2 or 3 individuals in order to take a seat on simultaneously. The Tips to working the Best Bean Bag chair for home are given below:

  • A few bean bags possess detachable handles with regard to simple cleaning. The less expensive types possess set and irremovable handles.
  • Cleansing it will likely be harder, and drying out this away may take a moment. You will find bean bags that may be customized along with stitched monograms.
  • Bean bag chairs are available in different kinds based on the objective. You will find bean bags positioned in kid’s areas.
  • They are scaled-down compared to normal dimensions to create this much more obtainable in order to kids.
  • The children utilize it whilst these people perform using their video games or even view a common exhibit upon television.
  • Kid’s bean bags will also be employed for a far more fitted set up whenever getting tale occasions along with children.
  • Buying kid’s bean bags is definitely enjoyable since the styles are more cartoon. A few are available in fresh fruit designs just like a pumpkin. This causes it to seem like a young child is seated on the pumpkin.
  • These Best Bean Bag Chair also provide safety precautions to prevent mishaps. These people are created to become more long lasting, stopping the material through spilling away.
  • These types of chairs are available in the form of sports activities golf balls. Football bean bags have been in areas associated with monochrome, compared to some football golf ball.
  • The majority of the group leisure areas possess these types of bean bag chairs embellished onto it.
  • There’s also bean bag lounger chairs. The trend of bean bag chairs offers return whenever brand new styles happen to be created.
  • Numerous businesses possess created these types of chairs into loungers. Individuals may rest onto it at any time they need.
  • It’s not simply a regular chair right now. The majority of lounger bean bag chairs are weatherproof and may be studied outside. You are able to rest onto it during your own yard.
  • The bean bags lay is handy on holidays or even short-term residency in dormitories. It’s the twin reason for the chair and lay it gets room preserving, particularly using the restricted section of dormitory areas.
  • It’s also easier to transport only one Best Bean Bag rather than individually carrying away the mattress and chair.
  • This sort is extremely amazing since it fits a good ottoman. This utilizes virgin mobile drops with regard to filling up. It’s water-resistant and simple thoroughly clean.

In Conclusion, Jessica from home advisors, the author of the article helps us know various types of bean bag chair which are very useful and provide comfortable feeling in any indoor or outdoor space.

The Man and His Music

Sinatra’s Television specials of the mid-Sixties, starting with the award winning “A Man and His Music” in 1965, were landmarks, both artistically and by means of TV staging. The 1973 message “Ol’Blue Eyes Is Back” was also underlined by a TV special that included a fabulous teaming-up with Gene Kelly (“Do you remember them / those days at M-G-M”): Fittingly thus, following the tremendous success of the Trilogy album and the concert tours of 1980 and 1981 (including two sellout weeks at Carnegie Hall in both years), Sinatra undertook another special with NBC entitled “The Man and His Music”. In spring, he anounced plans during an exquisite mini-concert at NBC’s Affiliates Day (May 19, Los Angeles, Century Plaza Hotel – a bootleg LP recording exists, including one of the best versions of These Foolish Things I know), and recordings were made in late October, after another album, She Shot Me Down, was “in the can” at Reprise.

That album turned out to be distinguished – and so does the TV special that was aired in late November. There are no vocal guest stars, nor is there a live audience, and the occasional album cover background plus show stairways aside, there is only minimal staging – just pure singing, reflecting on how much Sinatra was once more in command at the time. His prime tuxedo looks very much add to that – it’s hard to believe that an almost 66-year-old is singing to you on the screen. Plus, the selections of songs turns out to be quite thrilling as well, combining well-known Sinatra standards in supreme harvest versions to songs from the new album.

It’s all there from the very start, when a larger-than-life remake of Capitol’s NICE’N’EASY cover rises and Frank starts to sing the chestnut to the familiar Riddle arrangement. Following its inclusion in the 1973 TV special, Sinatra had performed it in concert in 1975 while his voice was still “recovering” from the retirement (as heard e.g. on the Montreal and London concerts of May 1975, both of which are out on LP/CD) – his singing now is from another star. For sure it’s the definite harvest rendition, and by many means, I think it rivals the original itself. Sinatra approaches it in a more straight manner, not as relaxed as in 1960 – the tempo is also slightly faster here -, but the swing is so irresistable that you simply have to stop the tape and watch it again. Also, as with the whole show, the camera often focuses on his face, and from the blue eyes’ sparkles you can almost feel both his excitement and regained confidence.

“Good evening”, he says, “I hope you’ll share this next hour with me, visiting some lovely songs recorded through all of these years, and meeting a few new songs. This marvelous arrangement by Nelson Riddle fits the mood just about right for openess. That’s the way I like it, the way it has been all the time between us, ya know what I mean” – yes we know – and he reprises, getting softer with each line, “Nice’n’easy does it / nice’n’easy does it / nice’n’easy does it / every time”, finishing with a ballerina’s bow, the way he does at the end of “I Could Have Danced All Night”

“Here’s a marvelous Sy Oliver arrangement of what backed me in about a million one nighters with Tommy way back in the years when I weighed less than his trombone”, Sinatra introduces
THE ONE I LOVE BELONGS TO SOMEBODY ELSE, done up-tempo as on “I Remember Tommy” (Reprise). It is the same fabulous beat as with the above, and one camera shot focuses Irv Cottler at the drums behind Sinatra. Again, in a straight approach, Sinatra’s singing is prime condition, all through that soaring climax. “What else”.

“Let’s go one more time with this great Neil Hefti arrangement”, and with the Count himself at the piano, Sinatra swings into PENNIES FROM HEAVEN from the 1962 first Basie album. The song has always been a highlight in Sinatra’s post-retirement performances: Another supreme recording, shaped by hundreds of concert renditions. Before the instrumental bridge, Sinatra gets loose a la Frankie “There’ll be pennies from heaven / for you and me”, only to enter with a staccato “Like-I-was-saying-a-minute-ago- every-time-it-rains [sharp pause – Basie smiles at the singer] – pennies from heaven / don’t you knooooww evry clouud containnnns lots of pennies from heaven / you’ll fiiinnnnnnnd your fortunes falling [blam !] / all over the town / be sure / you better be sure that your umbrella / is laying-right-there-and-it’s-up-side-down”. This is better as the original. At the end, the famous finger-pointing with “For you and for you and [Basie notes] – meeeeee”.

“The triple talents of Gordon Jenkins blend beautifully in this most lovely new song, for which he created words, music and orchestration”: The best possible introduction for I LOVED HER, from the then upcoming new album She Shot Me Down. As with the following selections from that project, Sinatra sounds very much the same as on record. The song, as many of you know, is built around a wish-I-could-but-it-will-never-be love story, “She was Mozart / I was Basie / she was afternoon tea / I was saloons”, most intimately told by the master of song-story-tellers. The mood he creates, as on record, is so overwhelming that by simply leaving his left hand in his pocket at the beginning, he evokes a guy-standing-at-the-bar-and- thinking-it-all-over scenery, while Vincent Falcone plays a blue piano. The ballad phrasing is perfect, and once more, it becomes obvious how much of a genius Jenkins was in bringing “to song” Sinatra’s ballad soul: “But there was one thing she didn’t knooowww / – that I loved heeeer / cause I never, never tolllld-uh her soooo”.

Next is reminiscing Sinatra-Jobim, with Tony Mottola taking the guitar lead on
THE GIRL OF IPANEMA. At the time, Sinatra was regularly doing a “guitar act” in his concerts (as captured on the 1980 Carnegie Hall and 1982 Concert for the Americas Videos), adding some prime vocals to the library (a guitar version of “As Time Goes By” has been issued on CD), and this is another superb tribute to whom Sinatra calls “the king of Bossa-Nova”.

“If you ever get your own band and you really wanna wail – find yourself a great Cole Porter song, let Neil Hefti do the arrangement, and then baby, just let it aaall hang out”.
AT LONG LAST LOVE, from “Swinging Brass” (Reprise 1962), sticks to that theme. Sinatra really kicks it off, as in the final line before the bridge when he sings “or is it at lonnngg —“, simply swaying and leaving out the “last love” in a way that makes you want to jump out of your armchair. The second chorus has him stomping on “really a shock”. Pure excitement.

“No lyric is ever warmer than when embraced by strings”. This intro could be taken as a Sinatra credo throughout his recording career, be it the Jenkins albums, his close ties to Riddle’s concertmaster Felix Slatkin, or some of his work with Costa, mainly of course the 1961 Sinatra & Strings, to which Sinatra considers the following to be a perfect sequel: George Harrison’s SOMETHING, as recorded two years prior for Trilogy, in “Nelson Riddle’s most tender arrangement”. Through the camera shots you can see that Sinatra’s frequent on-stage confessions of having falling in love with the songs were true. His rendition, again, is as good as the recorded version.

MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK is another selection from She Shot Me Down included here. Orchestrated by Gordon Jenkins, it is -at least for me- one of the highlights of the album, a supreme ballad creating a I-should-have-told-her mood when it’s all done, “adding up the kisses and the laughter”. Sinatra sings it as touching as on record, but unfortunately, he does only one chorus (maybe because the ‘original’ runs almost 5 minutes, or maybe this was edited before broadcast ?), thus the story, rather uncommonly by Sinatra standards, is cut down. Still, with those few lines, Sinatra evokes memories most of us, I trust, carry: “Knowing how you’d play it / if the chance to play it over ever caaaammmmmmmm-e / but then / a monnnday morningg-quarterback / never lost / againnn”. While the singer closes his eyes, the camera focuses on the She Shot Me Down cover, that has Sinatra in a leather jacket leaning at the bar, the smoke from his cigarette illuminated by the flashlight. It’s a perfect image for this songs closing as it is for Sinatra the balladeer in general – and as artificial as it may be, it also captures many of our own “Sinatra moments” in a single shot. Needless to say it’s my favourite Sinatra cover.

It’s Basie again, and a real harvest winner. THE BEST IS YET TO COME (from the 1964 second Basie album “It Might As Well Be Swing”), as sung by Sinatra in the Eighties on countless occasions, almost always topped the studio version, and this cut should be called the peak, with the singer in total control and giving his all 120 % power. Listening to the soundtrack alone flips you completely, and watching the screen only adds to your amazement on how easily (it seems) Sinatra strictly nails this tune, following the dramatic build-up of Quincy Jones’s orchestration. Sinatra himself obviously was aware of it, as he regularly included in on stage until the very final concert – in fact, this tune, written by the “Witchcraft” team of Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh, is likely to become the last song he sang in public (the 80th birthday special pick-up of New York New York aside) as it closed his February 25, 1995, mini-concert in Palm Springs, with a little frailed voice but with as much energy as heard here. Throughout his anti-climax soft finish (“the best is yet to come and babe, won’t it be finnne…and I’m gonna make you minnnnnne”), on many concert tapes, you can hear the bobbysoxers’ (grand)children audiences shriek and yell. “Out of the tree of life…”.

GOOD THING GOING, written by Stephen Sondheim, opens the She Shot Me Down album, and it is not a bad song, though by the standards of the rest of the album it must be considered rather average, certainly not being a anequate sequel to the great Send In The Clowns. In a sense, the same applies to this performance: Sinatra’s singing is fine, yet the song itself obviously lacks the spirit of all the other selections. Yet, again through the camera shots you can see Sinatra really is into it (he would never look that way when singing Strangers In The Night), and of course, the lyrics provide him with an easy-to-conquer finish on “going – gonnnnnne”.

“If the next song ever makes an album”, Sinatra says, “the cover should be clear blue skies because it originated in an airline commercial, adopted by me … with new lyrics by the master, Sammy Cahn-y”. The fact that it didn’t made an album left SAY HELLO among those rare post-retirement Reprise cuts, recorded during the She Shot Me Down sessions, issued only on a 45” and of course recently on the Sinatra suitcase. It is a nice swinger, but rather average lyrics – no shining hour of Cahn – combined to a Don Costa arrangement that quotes so much from the New York-New York-pattern, especially at the bridge (“let-me-re-peat / there’s lot’s of pie to eat” – oh my!) that it’s almost a shame for such a skilled arranger as Costa was, make it very clear why this song didn’t deserve a better fate, although Sinatra comes off better than on the studio recording.

The contrast couldn’t be sharper as Sinatra next takes us on a ride with I GET A KICK OUT OF YOU, including the verse as in his 1953 Capitol recording, and swinging those famous lines to an arrangement reworked for the rhythm group, with Vincent Falcone jr. at the piano, as regularly performed in concert in the late Seventies and the Eighties. Needless to say it’s an easy game for Sinatra, although as on many a concert occasion with this chart, he has some difficulties with the final note that comprises “out-of-youuuuu” in one phrase rather than changing notes between each word. The whole sound of this number adds to the Sinatraphile’s feeling of regret that an album of combo-like Jazz- orientated charts, as considered at the time, was never to be.

Now once we’ve had that average musical sequel, it’s a must to be treated to the real thing. NEW YORK NEW YORK – how could Sinatra have done this special in 1981 without including the song that crystallized his comeback-mission-accomplished-and-far-beyond success with the Trilogy album. At age almost 64, in 1979, after 40 years as an recording artist, and after a year of singing on stage the piece introduced by Liza Minnelli in 1977, Sinatra had recorded a song that even among people who know virtually nothing about the singer aside from his name has become a sing-along: The greatness of Sinatra the musical artist couldn’t be underlined more than by the fact that given his whole recording career, culminating “on Capitol hill”, this coming-from-outer-space smash recording was in a sense already another footnote to a legend. Singing it on virtually every concert stage since Trilogy, Sinatra shaped his rendition a little further, and as a result, this 1981 TV version has to be called the best of all, the definitive rendition of a definitive Sinatra song, all together with an introduction to end any introductions: “Vinnie Falcone takes the baritone now to conduct one of the most exciting pieces of all of my years, this Don Costa arrangement of a Fred Ebb-John Kander love song to the city that never sleeps and the ball team that lost”. This is the magic, and the skills, and the craft, and the power, and most of all, The Voice of a lifetime packed into three and a half minutes. “I want to wake up / in a city that doesn’t sleep / and find that I’m number one / top of the list / head of the heap…”. And then we get what the record lacks, maybe the most famous Sinatra climaxes of all, the high-note all of us who attended a Sinatra concert in the past decade have been waiting for: “… king of the hiiii-[up]iiiiliilllll” – with this note coming along so digitally clear, if any, the second of quiet that follows is *the* Sinatra moment of all – “Theeeeeeeeese-uh litlllllle townnnn blues”. Quoting the lyrics already says it all, doesn’t it, while it’s a thrill to witness Sinatra’s obviously being totally excited with the chart as well while he sings the final lines. “Newww-a Yooooooork”. Smash ! Push the “pause” button on your VCR, take a breath and recapture what you’ve just witnessed. And then re-think the above, the simple fact that this is NOT some singer in his prime but an almost 66-years-old “old-fashioned” artist who easily climbs another mountain after four decades on the road. Number one, top of the list. With still thirteen years on stage, as we know now, to come, providing many of us with New York moments. Thanks for the memory, Frank.

And that’s it: “The title of this song suggests what’s in my heart for all of you, and the wonderful life you’ve given me in my business”. Sinatra introduces THANKS FOR THE MEMORY, another selection from She Shot Me Down, built around someone’s reminiscences of a passed love affair, while Sinatra’s remarks reflect his caring for his listeners. Aside from the original story, thus, his singing suggests a mood of “what a wonderful time we had”, appealing to those who had been following him through the decades, and even to young listeners like me. The story itself also unfolds in all of its beauty, as it does on record with the irony of “Thanks for the memory / of letters I destroyed / books that we enjoyed / tonight the way things look / I need a book / by Sigmund Freud / how brainy he was… we’ve had our bed of roses / but forgot that roses diiie-a-and thank you / sooooo much.”

Let’s leave the final words up to Sinatra himself – it is a timeless speech.

“I hope tonight [lingers on], with all those talents behind every song. The men and women who conceived the lyrics, the dreamers who fashioned the melodies to become part of our own dreams. And the brilliant orchestrators who added their own touches of genius, like Nelson Riddle, Gordon Jenkins, Neil Hefti, Vinnie Falcone [of course, Billy May should be added here], Don Costa, and Quincy Jones, and all the marvelous conductors with whom I shared many a happy stage. And of course all the musicians, the ladies and gentlemen of the orchestra, whose artistry has helped a lucky band singer make a living. And to all of you [turning to the musicians], and to all of you [facing the camera], God bless you, and good night.”

At this point, the members of the studio orchestra slowly start to applaud, and if you look into their faces, you can see that it comes from the heart.

Is Sinatra Finished?

“Frankie is on the skids!” “Sinatra is all washed up!” “Frank is finished!”

That old refrain is being bounced around more and more. It started a couple of years ago with people in the music business. Now it has spread to the fans themselves. Frankie’s friends are getting more and more worried while his enemies become more delighted.

This isn’t the first case of this sort in recent years. You’ll remember that about two years ago the word spread like wildfire that Bing Crosby was rapidly becoming a has-been. “Der Bingle’s voice has finally cracked!” the voices whispered. You know the answer to that one. Bing’s melodious voice, after wobbling awhile like a foghorn, soon recovered its usual tones, and his records, radio show and movies went sailing along as in days of yore.

But that doesn’t answer the question: “Is Sinatra Finished?” I’ll do that a little later on. First of all, let us study some recent Sinatra history that has fostered current rumors that “The Voice” is now just “The Gargle.”

Frank’s troubles all started sometime in 1946–just ten years after his memorable visit to the Bing Crosby movie that decided him on his career of moon and swoon. Sinatra happens to be a good-natured guy; in fact, the gold in his heart often seems to make him slightly soft in the head.

Anyway, “The Voice” was persuaded by certain political salesmen to identify himself with “Causes” that would (so he was convinced) help mankind. These “Causes” would help the underdog they said–and also help the downtrodden masses. He was shown how to do his bit by attending certain Hollywood rallies, by collecting funds for folks unable to help themselves, by making speeches in ballrooms and ballparks. Frankie went all out in these activities. He’s not the kind to spare himself when he firmly believes he is on the side of right.

The only trouble was that Frank had been persuaded to tie himself up with “transmission belts.” These are outfits (sometimes called “innocent organizations”) that use people like Sinatra, who more often leap with good heart than hard head. Unfortunately, the political color of this cause happens to be a deep shade of red!

Sinatra’s disillusion with his “innocent” activities, plus the bad publicity it resulted in, was followed quickly by a nasty experience that was headlined on thousands of newspapers. That was the smear campaign resulting from Frankie’s famous 1947 handshake, in Cuba, with the notorious gangster, Lucky Luciano.

It was just plain hard luck for “The Voice” that Robert Ruark, a widely-syndicated columnist, happened to be in Cuba at the time. It seems that the unsavory Luciano was a Sinatra fan, and somehow managed to arrange a meeting with the singer. It also happens that Robert Ruark was nearby when the historical handshake took place . . . Thus started the one-week newspaper sensation that boosted some newspaper circulation sky-high, but did nothing to boost Frankie’s reputation. Especially coming on the heels of Frankie’s innocent association with pro-Soviet causes. And so another dent was added to the reputation of “The Voice.”

Now the more a guy hits the front pages, the more the gossip columnists, scandal-mongers and ill-wishers get to work on him. Newspapermen just like to write about other people in trouble. So the disparaging remarks about Frankie’s “caverns in his cheeks,” his “English Droop figure” and his bevy of swooning, screaming bobby-sox fans increased. There was no romantic scandal to sock Frankie with in the press–so the careless speech here, and the casual handshake there, provided grist for the gossip mill.

No romantic scandal, did I say? Well, for a while, anyway. Seems that 1947 was just a hard-luck year for Sinatra. On top of all other troubles, he somehow picked 1947 to let his name and reputation get tied up with that of Lana Turner, the Sweater Girl, and no mean headliner herself!

Through the heat of Hollywood days the blaze of Hollywood night clubs, the thrice-married Lana dragged her sweaters and sables by Frankie’s side. And before long, Sinatra dragged his valises out of his home. The home that heretofore had housed one of America’s dream families: Nancy, Frank and their two children, Nancy aged seven, and Frank Jr., aged four.

It is no wonder that the columnists seized on the new development and chattered gaily away while ten million loyal bobby-soxers chewed their homework pencils nervously, their eyes staring glumly in the distance. However, all on the romantic front ended well before long.

One night at Slapsie Maxie’s, Frank and Nancy reconciled in a scene that would have put to shame the most imaginative movie director in Hollywood. You all remember how Phil Silvers spotted the Sinatras at separate tables. How he walked Frank from his own table to that of his estranged wife. How Frank sang “Nancy (With the Laughing Face),” a song dedicated to his own daughter. How the reconciliation took place right there and then, amidst a vale of tears and a cynical gang of newspaper reporters. To many, the scene was a bit too maudlin for comfort–but anyway, the reconciliation was effected, and the Turner-Sinatra scandal became a thing of the past.

That was March, 1947. People began again to think of Sinatra in terms of “The Voice,” instead of front page news and scandal. But not for long. The very next month, in Ciro’s, Frankie hit the headlines again!

It’s hard to say whether Sinatra should be criticised, or not, for landing a sock on the jaw of columnist Lee Mortimer in Ciro’s. Even if the sock also landed him in the headlines again–and almost in the hoosegow!

It seems that Mortimer allegedly murmured a slurring remark as he passed Frank. Apparently the remark did no credit to minority groups–reflecting on the nationality to which Frank belongs. The Italians.

Anyhow, Frankie’s bellicose nature–which he had kept under remarkable restraint since his stormy, fight-ridden Tommy Dorsey days–asserted itself. He let go with a wallop. He ended up in Court, finally settled privately the assault and battery charges brought against him by Mortimer. But there was no settling the unfavorable glare of his name spread out again on the front pages of the nation’s newspapers.

With the Mortimer mess, though, Frankie’s hard luck year came to an end. That is, as far as gossip and scandal. But the stress and strain of publicity and the notoriety had apparently taken its toll.

Just about the time that Bing Crosby’s voice took a terrific upswing, squelching the stories that he was “all washed up,” Sinatra came out with his latest movie, The Miracle of the Bells. This movie didn’t exactly tarnish the reputation of “The Voice,” but it certainly did nothing to help it. Sinatra’s voice and his acting were just an uncomfortable distance away from his bright work in Anchors Aweigh, and It Happened in Brooklyn. Enough to make a few critics raise their sensitive eyebrows and some fans sigh in disappointment. And enough to make people draw unfavorable comparisons with Bing’s stellar characterization as Father O’Malley.

And on top of The Miracle, came a bevy of poor Sinatra records. There is little question–even in the minds of the most ardent Sinatra fans–that Frankie’s recordings of the past year are decidedly below par. Furthermore, his scheduled part in making an album of songs from the Broadway hit, Inside U.S.A. had to be cancelled. The part had to be reassigned to Buddy Clark because Frankie’s voice was not in condition to handle the tunes.

To confirm the bad impression made by his records, Frank began to slip on his radio show, The Hit Parade. He missed notes, cracked phrases and attacked melodies with seeming indifference. Gone was the heart-felt conviction which distinguished his earlier singing of the most mediocre lyrics. Gone was the grace of feeling, and of phrasing, that made him America’s dream-singer.

And as a result of all this: enter the whispers, now growing into a loud, coast-to-coast murmur, that Frank Sinatra is through . . .

Well . . . Why?

Well . . . there’s no doubt, in the first place, that the wear and tear of all the aforementioned headline-notoriety didn’t help Frankie’s voice. The work of any person under an emotional strain is bound to suffer during these periods. Just as Bing’s did a couple of years ago.

But more important was the wear and tear resulting from the tremendous amount of work that Sinatra took upon himself. Maybe you don’t know it, but toward the end of last year, the record companies started making records en masse. They did this in order to have a huge stock of them on hand before January 1, 1948, when Petrillo, union boss of the musicians, commanded that no more records be made. As a result Frank made one record after another–day and night. He also continued with his radio show. He starred in a movie. He made five or six shows a day in theatres. Furthermore, Sinatra likes to live high, wide and handsome, so he continued to go sailing, play baseball, visit race tracks and drop into night clubs.

Is it any wonder why the strongest of voices would begin to crack under the strain of such a regimen? Is it not logical that Frank’s voice should reflect the fatigue that resulted from this manner of living?

But does all that mean that Frank Sinatra is on the skids? On the way down? Finished?

Emphatically–NO !

A man who still makes $300,000 a year from the movies, (he’s in MGM’s The Kissing Bandit now) $250,000 from the radio, $150,000 from records, and many thousands more from personal appearances is hardly a has-been!

Hardly! Especially when he has grown up enough in the last year–as Frankie certainly has–to realize that it is not possible to maintain a mad, whirling work-and-play schedule. And at the same time continue to be “The Voice.”

Sinatra’s natural cockiness as to his physical and emotional capacities is being sharply replaced by the use of reason and logic. He is now realizing that he cannot keep up his backbreaking schedule and still be the idol of millions of fans.

And with his growing use of reason, it is doubtful that he will soon again pull any more front-page boners. Political ones, for example, which had millions stamping him as a Red. Sinatra has attained a growing awareness of American politics that will prevent any more “innocent” collaboration with Soviet-minded “transmission belts.” This does not mean, however, that his heart of gold has turned into one of stone. Frank will still battle for tolerance, but he will be careful not to get involved with shady organizations who simply want to “use” him.

In other words, Frankie has “grown up” considerably since his troubles started a couple of years ago. He’s taken quite a beating, and it has shown in his singing. But he has learned what mistakes NOT to make through the best teacher of all. Experience.

So don’t let people tell you that “The Voice” has become “The Gargle.” Frankie has slipped a little, sure. Just as Bing did a few years back. But Bing’s voice recovered, as ours do after exhaustion, strain and emotional disturbances.

Sinatra is NOT finished!

Top 10 Best CD

A week or so ago I sent a post to the Sinatra List asking how much overlap exists between the tracks on the individual Columbia/Legacy releases and those on the Big Blue Box or the 4-CD “Best of” set. Following is a reply I received from Chuck Granata, and he has given me permission to post it here and submit it to the Mailing List website. However, Chuck added, “Please make a note, though, that it was a ‘quick’ response to your question, and that I plan to make a fairly comprehensive assessment, which you can also publish when I’m done with it.”

Leo Scanlon
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Regarding overlap of both repertoire (songs chosen for specific CD issues), and the takes of those songs on each CD release, I give the following chronology (hoping you don’t become confused or bored!):

Think of the “blue” box as the foundation. That box set was assembled in 1992 and 1993, and was designed to present each and every song that FS recorded for Columbia. While the initial approach to selecting the specific “takes” of each of those songs was to use the take that was used on the very first release of the song (in most cases, the original 78 RPM issues), we strayed from this approach at times during the course of the 12 CD set, in cases where the originally issued take was unacceptable sonically. For instance, the “master” discs for some selections contained surface noise that, at the time, could not be adequately removed. In these instances, we tested the original 78 RPM discs (mint copies from my collection), but found the sound to be very different from the sound we were extracting from the original session discs. Thus, we turned to alternate takes of these songs, as in most cases, the masters had never been used, and were in prime condition.

The 4-CD Best Of “cutdown” was assembled from the masters we used for the 12 CD set. The takes are all the same as the 12 CD set. My attempt in programming the 4 CD set was to include a cross section of Sinatra’s best for the label. In total, I feel that anyone who wishes to explore FS in this period has all the right songs, with a smattering of the “rare” recordings from the 12 CD set, and a wide variety of musical styles. In programming the selections for this set, I tried to balance the package so that the 1950-52 period came into focus as a solid body of work (since this period is generally knocked as his “worst.” On the contrary, I feel that there are some very beautiful and important recordings to emerge from the late Columbia era).

The V-Discs, as you know, are unique: while some of Sinatra’s V-Discs were actually copies of his commercial Columbia recordings, we did not use any of those commercial masters – ALL songs included on the set are from the rare radio broadcasts.

Here is the breakdown for the balance of our catalog, in no particular order (please note that the actual CD booklet will clearly indicate the selections that are alternates):

  1. FS & Harry James:” contains all the master takes, plus several alternates (although, in error, we inadvertently included and marked one of the takes as an alternate when, in fact, it is not – I’ll check and let you know which song)
  2. Christmas Songs By Sinatra:” contains a number of alternate takes, as well as the FS Christmas V-Disc, and 3 other radio performance recordings
  3. Swing & Dance With FS:” contains alternate takes of most of the songs which exist as 16″ lacquer session discs (tracks 1-7, inclusive). The exception is track 4, “The Hucklebuck,” for which no alternate take exists. Tracks 8-18 exist as tape masters, and no alternates exist.
  4. FS Sings Rodgers & Hammerstein:” the only alternate take is actually a partial alternate: Part 2 of “Soliloquy.” Since we were including 5 radio performances, we opted to utilize available alternate takes of the R&H material in future collections.
  5. I’ve Got A Crush On You:” designed as a Valentines Day CD, this contains no alternates – all cuts are from the 12 CD masters.
  6. 16 Most Requested Songs:” this was compiled and assembled prior to my involvement, and the creation of the 12 CD set, so the sonics may be a bit inferior to that on subsequent issues. There is, I believe, one alternate take, “Oh What It Seemed To Be.”
  7. Essence Of FS:” No alternates that I am aware of; culled from the 12 CD set masters, I believe. (Planned and executed prior to my arrival)
  8. The Voice” Gold Mastersound: a re-release of the LP version of this popular album, which in itself, was a compilation assembled by Columbia in 1955. In retrospect, this title didn’t really fit the criteria of the 24Kt Gold “high resolution” goals of the Mastersound series, as there are flaws in the original disc session masters. This will probably be cut out soon.
  9. FS Sings His Greatest Hits:” all of the masters except two, “Laura” and “Body And Soul,” are the same takes as on the 4 CD set. We did, however, use the updated restorations of some of the songs: for instance, the duplicated songs from “Swing & Dance,” as we were able to improve the sonics somewhat over the previous 12 and 4 CD set masters.
  10. Portrait of Sinatra:” the masters here come from 4 sources: the 12 CD set, the 4 CD set, the “Swing & Dance” CD, and new transfers from the session lacquers (for the newly issued 8 alternate takes). In some instances, on “I’ve Got A Crush On You,” for example, we opted to use the “Swing & Dance” version, which is an alternate take. (Because the song has been issued on a recent CD, I didn’t want to confuse collectors, so I did not list it as an alternate on “Portrait,” as any collector who follows such things can simply check the discography, which clearly lists the take number, and make their own comparison with our other CD issues. ALL NEWLY RELEASED ALTERNATES ARE ALWAYS CLEARLY INDICATED ON BOTH THE PACKAGING AND IN THE BOOKLET DISCOGRAPHY.

Believe it or not, within 6 months of the release of the 12 CD box set, the availability of new equipment and techniques would have enabled us to re-transfer the original session discs, and make marked improvements to the sonic restoration of the FS disc masters in our vault. That is why we have attempted, with each subsequent release, to utilize alternates, and improve the sonics wherever possible (The “Swing & Dance” CD is a great example of this, as we basically re-transferred every disc source, and the improvements are noticeable).

Additionally, Didier and I have been painstakingly transferring every take of every FS Columbia song in our vault, using the newest equipment, so that we have a “ready pool” of material to draw from for future releases. This will insure our continued use of alternate takes, whenever it is artistically valid. It also effectively preserves the original session masters, which have sustained some damage (not much, fortunately) in the past few years.

Overlapping of songs is, of course, unavoidable. Since we have spent the past few years “rebuilding” the FS Columbia catalog, we have (by necessity) created a number of different collections, which appeal to different consumers and different buyer’s budgets. With the release of the 2 new CDS, we have placed collections that feature the essential Sinatra recordings in the hands of every type of consumer: casual, semi-involved, and full-blown maniac! Now, I can continue to address thoughtful collections, such as “Sinatra Sings Cole Porter,” and include a variety of songs & performances that will be very important to the real collectors, like you and I!

I am currently at work on a 2-CD “Radio Years” set, which will feature songs that FS didn’t record, from pristine sound sources. It will be a wonderful addition to our catalog, when it arrives – sometime next year.

Most of the “Cole Porter” CD I’m planning will be radio material – songs like “Don’t Fence Me In,” and the “Skin/Easy To Love” medley from 1944. I may be including some of this on the Radio Years package, but rest assured, the “FS Sings Cole Porter” will have alternate takes of the studio tracks, plus every single Porter radio track I can include, that has hi-quality sonics.

I hope that I’ve adequately explained the intricacies of our catalog, and that I haven’t confused the issues! As you can tell, we’re trying to be thoughtful about our approach to this important part of Sinatra’s work: offering collections that will appeal to the basic music consumer and FS collectors alike, and mixing in “collector” based issues, such as V-Disc & Radio Years, as well.

UNTIL THE REAL SONG COMES ALONG

After three decades of circling among collectors, a truly outstanding performance is at long last available on record

Frank Sinatra at The Oakland Coliseum, May 22, 1968 (BaySound CD 6805)

I.

For almost any aspects of Western hemisphere’s culture, the year 1968 was a milestone. Twelve months somewhat crystallized events and evolutions that may have changed whole societies since – and music, of course, was no exception: There have been no fundamental changes in modern social history that were not accompanied by fundamental changes in the world of music.

In his 1988 TV interview with Larry King, Frank Sinatra bluntly considered himself “an over-the-hill performer”, while his timeless talent of course still drew huge crowds to his concerts, where he handled his classic repertoire from the American Songbook with interpretative skills of a lifetime on stage – yet that hill he had already crossed twenty years earlier. The mid-Sixties had finally turned the singer into what we like to call “a legend”, with the Award-winning TV special “A Man and His Music“, the distinguished “September Of My Years” album, then another three chart toppers within one year (Strangers In The Night, That’s Life, and Something Stupid) – but as it is with all legends, in a sense, the original game on the market was over. Like daughter Nancy, just risen to stardom with “These Boots”, kidding with her father in the 1966 TV special, referring to a recording of her father’s “I have this one, it’s in my classical collection.”

Sinatra was obviously very aware of that, and since at the time Rock’n’Roll was already a decade old, it was certainly nothing new to him. Yet for the first time, his reaction was notably reflected by his recording output, making the Reprise recordings of 1966-1969 probably the most controversial period of pre-retirement Sinatra. Though this is not the context for an extensive analysis of it (and happily we’ve had lots of constructive discussion on these recordings on the Sinatra list), think of the “Sinatra -Jobim” classics done in early 1967, that were followed within a few weeks by the selections on “The World We Knew”, or maybe focus on “Drinking Again”, one of Sinatra’s all-time best saloon songs, versus the plain commercial “Something Stupid”, both recorded at the same session (on February 1, 1967). While Sinatra’s 1967 TV special was originally scheduled to contain much more contemporary sounds within the medley parts with Ella Fitzgerald but rewritten shortly before taping (with fabulous results, as both singers’ closing smash of a medley proves), on TV one year later, Sinatra, dressed in one of those “funny suits with the funky shoes”, teamed up with a group called “The Fifth Dimension” for a song called “Sweet Blindness” – watching the Video today, and rethinking the title, says it all.

Poignantly, both of his 1968 album projects show that Sinatra’s eagerness to include new songwriters’ efforts in his library wasn’t that far off after all. On “Cycles”, recorded in July and November, there are some marvelous displays of his artistry (with the title song and Jimmy Webb’s By The Time I Get To Phoenix, and with the simple charms of Little Green Apples). On the Sinatra family Christmas album done at the same time, Sinatra decided to include Webb’s Whatever Happened To Christmas, delivering one of his finest performances on record with a Christmas torch song.

In spring of 1968, Sinatra’s name once more filled the tabloids all over, with the break-up of his shortlived marriage to Mia Farrow. He joined the campaign for the democratic presidential candidacy of Hubert Humphrey, then Vice President of the United States (following the assassination of Robert Kennedy, Humphrey was later nominated as the Democrats’ candidate but lost the election to Richard Nixon), and on May 22, at The Coliseum in Oakland, Sinatra gave a 16-song fund-raising performance, that has long being praised by Sinatra collectors and circled around on tape as a “quiet tip”. Six songs have appeared on two different sampler CDs before, but the complete concert until now has not been available on record.

II.

While Oakland, as to be seen in the following detailed review, is indeed an extraordinary performance, its “celebrity status” among Sinatra collectors has of course also to do with what you might call “the live Sinatra record dilemma”.

When Reprise issued “Sinatra at The Sands” in 1966, it was the first album ever containing live material. It quickly became a classic (and rightfully so), featuring a very relaxed singer accompanied by Count Basie’s band in his trademark saloon setting. Yet, Sinatra’s voice is way below of what could have been its prime at the time (compare it to the Award-winning 1965 TV special taped a few months earlier) – and more importantly, while the mastering suggests one performance, it is in fact a sampler, culled from one week’s line of shows (January 26 to February 1), with one more possible song (Luck Be A Lady) left unreleased in favor of a monologue that, as typical as it may be, doesn’t get better with repeating play of the record. In his highly recommendable “Sinatra 101” (on p. 140), Ed O’Brien gives an excellent comment on this album and its impact.

The next Reprise live album, The Main Event (1974), would even put certain songs together from different performances (I Get A Kick Out Of You is such a hybrid), while still revealing some vocal troubles of the singer’s. Again, the liner notes implied it was one concert – as does Capitol’s “Sinatra 80th live” (issued 1995), that’s yet another sampler from 1987 and 1988 performances.

Happily, in the recent age of CD and Video/Laser Disc, there has been a lot of compensation, less through official than through unofficial releases – among them are Blackpool ’53, Melbourne ’55, Seattle ’57, Monte Carlo ’58, the Red Norvo Quintet concert from Melbourne ’59, Sydney ’61, several Sextet concerts from the 1962 spring tour, both London concerts ’70, the 1973 White House concert, a sampler from Atlantic City `79, and a couple of fine harvest concerts from the Eighties and Nineties (from Concert for the Americas ’82 to Radio City Music Hall ’94).

The aforementioned Sands album aside, 1961 and 1970 set the frame for the Oakland performance. The 1961 concert from Sydney is in my opinion by far Sinatra’s best big-band performance so far available on record (check out ), but the sound quality of this unofficial recording is unfortunately rather limited. >From the two London concerts of November 16, 1970, the second is on the Warner Video collection (with one song missing), while the complete first one (that has two additional songs) is on a fine unofficial CD. Sinatra’s “Retirement Concert” at Los Angeles on June 13, 1971, was recorded by Reprise – collectors’ tapes reveal a fabulous performance that should see an official release very soon.

The new unofficial release, on an otherwise unknown label called “BaySound”, shortens the “big-band concert gap”, and as you’ll see, easily matches both the 1966 and 1970 performances in quality. On the album sleeve, there are two shots of Frank, one has the candidate decorating the singer with a rally hat. On the back, a short liner note recalls Sinatra’s engagement for Humphrey’s presidential campaign before listing the song titles (as usual, no information on songwriters and arrangers, while again as usual the back of the cover sleeve remains empty…).

Obviously, the original stereo tape has been carefully remastered to the best possible results. The four songs from the show that have previously appeared on Bravura (see details below) sound much better on BaySound now, and the CD also offers a slight improvement for the two tracks previously available on Virtuoso (see below). Happily thus, it can be concluded that the material was given the care it deserves, which has, as many of you know, not always been the case: The sound is superb and well-balanced.

A short note informs about one track missing from the original concert: I’ve Got The World On A String, that followed All I Need Is The Girl, is tampered on the source tape (on my copy, large segments from the song’s first half are missing) and therefore had to be left out.

The bonus track is Sinatra’s special version of “High Hopes” for the 1960 presidential campaign of John F. Kennedy (for details, see additional posting). A very fitting inclusion here, and of course, an important element of Sinatra’s status as a public figure – which takes us back to the beginning: “the legend”. So now it’s time to take a closer look at a legendary performance. And don’t forget to fasten your seat-belts !

III.

Rube Bloom’s and Johnny Mercer’s DAY IN DAY OUT had been among the songs opening Frank Sinatra’s Capitol years, done in a ballad mood at the very first session for his new label (April 2, 1953, with Axel Stordahl, Sinatra’s first recording of the song – another ballad recording was done with Riddle on March 1, 1954). Similar to the 1967 TV special, Sinatra uses the up-tempo arrangement written by Billy May, and twice recorded by Sinatra, in 1958 for “Come Dance With Me” as his opener here, strolling on stage to the orchestral introduction. “Day in / day out / that same old voo-doo follows me about”. Like for the rest of the evening, the singer appears to be in great vocal shape and a very relaxed mood, thus perfectly ready to swing through this chestnut he knows inside out after regularly performing it in the past decade. As a result, you may have to jump out of your chair again only seconds after you’ve settled to enjoy the concert: The beat is impeccable. “That same old pounding in my heart whenever I think – of – you, annd-uh baby I think – of – you / day in and day out”, and the singer charmingly floats above it on “When I awake I – wake – up – with – ayy – tinngglle-uh *one* possibility in view / *that* possibility of maybe [closing out very subtle and softly] seein’-uh you”. Expectedly, after the shortened orchestral bridge, his return is triumphant: “Heeeey come rainnnnnnnnnnn, come shine … Theeeeen I kiss your-lips and the pounding becommmes / a very large ocean’s rooaarr / just about nine thousand drummms / caaaan’t you see it’s lovv-uh, can there be any doubt / … day in, daa-aayyyy ouuuuut.” Smash. There he is: A man and his music. “Here’s something by Cole Porter”. To the 1962 Neil Hefti arrangement (for “Swinging Brass”), the orchestra, conducted by Bill Miller this evening, introduces I GET A KICK OUT OF YOU. The tempo is slowed down a little compared to the original chart, and excitingly so, providing the singer with another bunch of possibilities to add nuances and asides. Except for one joke at the beginning (“so telll me whyy should – [talks] you want to make a dollar and a quarter ? What d’ya wanna do ?”, probably responding to some part of the audience) he sings it very straight, cleverly extending each syllable (including that famous “terifffffffffficly too”), what combined to the modest tempo results in a much more charming performance than heard on the record, as in the first chorus with his very soft phrasing of “I get no kick / in a plane” accompanied by a very quiet brushy beat. The more exciting, thus, the second chorus and the final climax becomes: “Flyying to high / with some gaaall in the skyyyyyyyyyyy-u-iiis my idea / of nothing to doo-uh / yet I get a [blam!] kick / you give me a [blam!] boot / I get a kick / oooooooooooooo-oouuuuuuut of-uh youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu”. A great finish for a definitive performance. Sinatra used this arrangement in concert until his final performances in 1994, and in most cases also tried on that long-note ending.

Another song Sinatra performed throughout the decades ever since recording it in 1957 for “Come Fly With Me” is next. Billy May’s marvelous arrangement, with its cleverly use of strings and piano, sparkles brightly throughout MOONLIGHT IN VERMONT, while Sinatra combines some elements of his most quiet “Jobim voice” (as heard on the 1967 album) to some most subtle interpretations shaped by many concert performances of this song (notably with the Sextet in 1962) not yet present on the Capitol record, and as a consequence delivers another perfect rendition. It’s almost impossible to highlight any of his phrasing here – it would unevitably result in reprinting the whole lyrics. Just notice the clever shift of tempo on the first “telegraph cables / how they siiii-iiiing dooown the highwayyy”. The 1962 tour aside, maybe there’s no other live recording around that captures the genius of Sinatra’s reading better than this: It is the “how to get knocked out by one single song” type of experience. Maybe even his softer-than-deemed-possible closing would already achieve that effect: “Moooooonlight innnnnn Veeermoooonnnnnt”. Just close your eyes and press the repeat button.

“Written by Shorty Rodgers and Marty Hart”. Excitingly picking up the beat from “Kick” with Nelson Riddle’s 1956 chart, THE LADY IS A TRAMP becomes another big winner. Throughout the first chorus, Sinatra sings with modest nuances (notice the fine piano sounds), only to insert, matching rally purposes, “dislikes California / it’s Reagan and damp”. Then after the bridge, there’s everything you could expect razzamatazz rat- packing Sinatra doing with his signature tune, while the brass section and the drums come across much stronger. “She’d never mess / with a nut that she’d hate / that’s why, that’s why, that’s why she’s a tramp / Doesn’t like crap games played with a bunch of ‘sharpies and frauds’ / never makes a trip up to Harlem driving a big fat Lincoln or Ford / she won’t dish the dirt / with the rest of those broads / that’s why this chick is a tramp.” And then: “She loves the free fine wild cool knocked-out mmmh-mmmh cuckoo wind in her hair / her life’s without one care / she’s broke / ha-ha ! / she hates California / because it’s smoggy and damp / that’s whyyyy the lady / heeyyy that’s whyyy the ladyyy / that’s why the ladyyy is a traaaaamp”. Blam! Finish! Period! It’s what you call nailing a tune.

Rodgers’ and Hammerstein’s I HAVE DREAMED, from “The King and I”, had been one of the highlights on Frank’s 1963 “Concert Sinatra” Reprise album with Riddle, sung with “great emotional power” (as pointed out by Ed O’Brien, who included it in his “Sinatra 101”). “Oh we had many cards and letters coming in for this one”, Sinatra would introduce the song in London 1970 before delivering a powerful performance – the version heard here is equally as great. Nelson’s chart, from the dreamy start on “I have dreamed that your arms are lovely” and “How you look in the glow of evening”, cleverly underlines the singers’ theatrical building up of the climax, and obviously in 1968, Sinatra’s voice is as powerful as on the record made five years prior. When he reaches for the second chorus, it makes you shiver. “Iiiiii willll looooove beeeinng looved byyyyy-yoooooouuu”. Praise may sound repetitive – it’s simply another definitive version.

“Here’s something what I think was Cole Porter’s finest hour. Again, Nelson Riddle”. I’VE GOT YOU UNDER MY SKIN must be called the ultimate Sinatra swing song anyway – and along with ‘Tramp’, it already was by the time of this performance. The 1963 Reprise remake of the Capitol record aside, there are many intoxicating versions from the Sixties around, from the TV specials as well as from the Sands ’66 and London ’70 – so add another exciting track to the ever extending “Skin” library. No further comments necessary. “And I like you / under my skin”. Sinatra reprises the song: “It repeats / how it *yells* in my ear”. And throughout the performance, how his interpretative insistence on “skinnnnnnn” and “winnnnnnn” grabs your sleeve.

As mentioned above, THAT’S LIFE had been a chart-topper for Sinatra in 1966, if mainly for its contemporary appeal. Without the chorus that’s heard on the Reprise album, Ernie Freeman’s arrangement works out much better, as proved by Sinatra’s rendition in his 1966 TV special. The more so it did on live stage, where Sinatra would always let loose with the song, in 1975 (as heard on the Montreal and London concerts) as well as 1986 (in the July Golden Nugget performance – all of these are available on bootleg), but probably never as perfectly as heard here, where Sinatra plays with a maximum of words to the maximum effect. It is first displayed in “when I’m back on top / sittin’-way-up-there-on- that-mother-this-coming-June” (rather than “back on top in June”). And then: “I sayy that’s life / and as straaange as it seems / I know-a-couple-o’-cats-get-their-kicks / steppin’ on dreammms / But I ain’t-never-gonna-let-it-get-me-down / because this *crazy*-old-world-keeps going-around-and-around.” The bridge: “I’ve been a piper-a-poet-a-peasant-a-pirate / a porn and a king / I’ve been up-and-down-and-over-and-out / so [what a fitting emphasis on this word] I know one thing / each time I find myself / flat on my face / I pick myself up / and get back / in the raaace.” Which means: “That’s life, you better believe it / ain’t no way to deny it/ couple-o’-times-last-month-I-was-going-to-pack-my-luggage- to-get-on-the-train-and-get-outta-town-but-my-heart-wouldn’t-buy-it [a one-line syllable record truly deserving a Guiness book entry !!] Sinatra goes for the second bridge in the above manner (“each time I find myself / laying there flat on my face”), and then the ultimate climax: “That’s life, ooooohhh yeaaahhh, that’s life, and don’t-you-ever deny it / I was gonna take a powder(?) baby but my heaarrrt wouldn’t buy-it / However / If there ain’t nothing jumpin’ this coming July — / I gonna roll myself up / in a big ball — / aaaandd-dyyy / Myyyyy-myyyyyy.” This is a very unique Sinatra performance. Never, I trust, in his entire career did he do more lyrical improvisation on any song. Many of his jazzy charts provided room for scatting but that was never an easy thing to do for Sinatra (as heard on the 1978 up-tempo combo chart of “Lover Come Back To Me”, available on Bravura, or think of his notorious “scoo-ba-doo-ba- doo-ba” sing-alongs off mike during many concerts). “That’s Life” is approached in a manner containing more rat-pack than jazz elements, and becomes a grand victory for Sinatra.

“This is probably one of the greates pieces in our American library, ladies and gentleman. It was written by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein”. The piano introduces OLD MAN RIVER. >From the very beginning, as it seems, Sinatra has felt a strong urge to make this song his own. When he first recorded it for Columbia in December 1944, it probably was the most unlikely of tunes to touch, in the original ballad mood, for a white crooning 29-years-old bariton. Yet, Sinatra and Old Man River would become associated for the singer’s entire career, as he performed it through the decades until his final concerts (a live version from early 1993 was considered by Capitol for possible inclusion in one of the album projects). While Sinatra’s engagement for civil rights in the Fourties may have brought some credibility to his Columbia rendition, through the years and numerous performances on radio and in concert (Blackpool ’53, Melbourne ’59, Spring Tour ’62), Sinatra’s telling the story of black men’s daily pain steadily amounted to become one of his best ever performances, as heard on the 1963 Reprise recording with Nelson Riddle (from “Concert Sinatra”). Since the Fifties, with the exception of the Reprise chart, Sinatra mainly performed the song acompanied only by piano, with the orchestra chiming in only for the final, and so he does here, his vocal being every bit as subtle as on the record, and even greater than on the 1967 TV special version. “Here we all work / long the Mississippi … pullin’ them boats / from the dawn till sunset / gettin’ no rest / until the judgement’s day”, and you’ll almost feel “bend your knees / and bow your heard / and pull that rope / until you’re dead.” His phrasing is outstanding. “Oool’ Mannn River / that oool’ mann river / he don’t sayyy nothin’ / but he must know som’thn’ / he jusss keeps rolling / keeps on rollinnnn-uh along.” It would again be citing all the lyrics to capture all the nuances. On the bridge, he goes for that famous low-note as on the Reprise record: “You get a little drunk / than you lands / in jaaiiiiiiiiii-iiiii-iiillll-uh-Iii get’s weary [here the orchestra starts to play] / and so sick of trying / I’m tired o’ livin’ / but I’m scaared to dyyinnn / and Oll’Man Riveeeer / he juss’ keeps rollin’ / aaalooooonnnggg”. Three years later, Sinatra would sing it with even more emotional power at the “Retirement Concert” – and poignantly, he also included it in his first comeback appearance 1973 at The White House.

The next selection comes from what was then Sinatra’s latest completed recording project, his album with Duke Ellington recorded in December 1967. Jule Styne’s ALL I NEED IS THE GIRL ranges among the highlights of the LP, while the whole thing lacked a certain excitement, despite some great Billy May charts, failing to melt Ellington’s sounds and Sinatra’s singing to the perfect match it possibly could have been. It is one of the most seductive interpretations in Sinatra’s library, with the singer rising steadily on the modest finger-snapping beat of May’s witty chart: “Got my tweed / pressed / I got my best / vest / all I neeeeeddd now / is the girrrllll / got my striped / tie / and my hopes / high / I got the time and the place / plenty o’rhythm / all I need’s / the girl to go with’emmmmmm-mmh if she’ll / if she’ll just appear we’ll / take this great big town for a whiiiiiiirl…”. – “You didn’t know I couldn’t dance ?”, Sinatra quits during the instrumental bridge, before he reaches a very relaxed climax “Got my striped / tie / aaall my hopes / are wayyyy-up high / I got the time and the place – yeeaahhh [wow!!] – got the rhythm / all I need’s that chick to go with’emmmmm-rhhhmmh-if she’ll / if she’ll just appear / while we’ll / take this great big love-ly town / for a whiirrlll”. Ladies, it’s time for unconditional surrender. “And then if, if she’ll say / — booby I’m yours / I’ll thro- [talking] booby ???- my striped tie / and my best / pressed tweed / ’cause all I reeeallly neeeed / is the giiirrlll / yabadabadeebep / yaba…[what follows is a really great short second of wallaballilly Ella- type scatting !]” – some additional orchestral beats, then “aaooouuu! [if that ain’t cool !] / All I neeed-is the giirrrllllll.” Essential Sinatra by any means.

At this part of the show, Sinatra introduced I’VE GOT THE WORLD ON A STRING, that for the above reason has been left out on this release. The mastering is well done, as you don’t notice the gap, while the liner note referring to the missing track doesn’t mention its exact place in the original performance. From the parts preserved on tape, his performance comes pretty close to the version from the 1965 TV special. With many of the uptempo charts, like Come Fly With Me, Skin or Kick, after singing them hundreds of times, Sinatra, in the mid-Sixties, kind of settled on a perfectly shaped approach he wouldn’t further change until his final concerts in the Nineties. This also applies to String, especially to the beginning and the end of this Harold Arlen-Ted Koehler chestnut.

WILLOW WEEP FOR ME, one of finest tracks on Sinatra’s 1958 landmark, maybe best-of-all ballad album “Only The Lonely” (check out Ed O’Brien’s summarizing comments at ), was seldom performed by Sinatra on stage in later years. Without any special announcement, this becomes the ‘saloon song’ selection of the Oakland performance, happily providing a very rare alternative to the regulars (from the same album), One For My Baby, Angel Eyes, and Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out To Dry. The singer’s voice switches to “Jobim sounds” again, adding a certain amount of desperate feeling to his interpretation. Sinatra phrases each line as only he can do for all the lonely around the globe. “Goonne my lover’s dream / lovely summer’s dream / gone and left me here / to weep my tears into the streammm / saaaaad as I can beee / hear me willow and weep / for meeeee.” Imagine the singer on a foggy river’s bench, addressing the nearby tree with all his sorrow: “Whisper to the winnnnnnnnnnd-and say that love has sinnnned / left my heaaart a-breakinnn’ / and makinnnnn’-a moaann / murmur to the niiiight / to hiiide its stary liiiight / so none can see my sighin’ / and cryin’ / alooooooooonnn-uh-weepin’ willow tree / weep in sympathy / bend your branches down / along the ground that runs to sea [how softly he phrases this line !] / wheeeen the shadows falllll / bend a willow / and weeep / for meee.” If it wasn’t for the applause at the end of the tune, one could have stayed deep in a sad dream for some hours to come. Another definite cut.

Musically, the next song couldn’t be more different: GOING OUT OF MY HEAD, written by Teddy Randazzo and Bobby Weinstein, arranged by Nelson Riddle for Frank’s performing it, to some success, as a closing duet to the ‘contemporary songs medley’ with Ella Fitzgerald in his 1967 TV special. While sticking to what David McClintick, in his ‘Odyssee to Trilogy’ liner notes (1979), would later describe as “cliched rock-patterns”, thus restricting Sinatra’s interpretative possibilities, the chart at least manages to provide Sinatra with some trademark shots at an otherwise dull melody, as heard here, where he introduces the song as “one of the great standards of our time”. Though being a cover song, its first line “Well I think I’m going out of my head” is greeted with firm applause from the audience. (In August 1969, Sinatra would record the song for Reprise, without achieving the little he made out of it a year earlier.) Yet, especially given the context of the many extraordinary performances in this supreme concert, the only ‘contemporary’ chart of the evening becomes, maybe symbolically so, a rather forgettable downer. Happily, compensation follows immediatly.

“This is about the prettiest song I had the fortune of singing, ladies and gentlemen”. From the audience, somebody calls “Nancy” (it’s audible on the record if you listen carefully), causing Sinatra to simply respond “right” and start the song. NANCY (WITH THE LAUGHING FACE), personally written for Sinatra by Phil Silvers and Jimmy van Heusen at the arrival of his first daughter in 1944, had quickly become a hit at Columbia, and through he would always perform it with pristine emotion – the version heard here is no exception. Bill Miller’s piano shines brightly on this selection as well. “I swear to goodness / you can’t resist her / wait till you meet Tina / that’s Nancy’s sister” he slightly alters the lyric to a warm response from the audience.

>From the second Basie album (It Might As Well Be Swing, 1964), with a great Quincy Jones arrangement, came FLY ME TO THE MOON (originally entitled “In Other Words” by composer Bart Howard) to stay with Sinatra’s performing library. With the benefit of the original band’s backing, it stands out as probably the strongest track on the 1966 “Sinatra at The Sands” – at Oakland, the tempo being slightly slower, Sinatra sings the first chorus a little bit more in a reflective mood. After the bridge, he enters strongly with “Why don’t you fill my heart, fill it up with song / let be *swing*, sing forever more”. Substituting the original “sing” with “swing” several times, as in the opening line, Sinatra picks up the mood the song carries – of course he couldn’t no that 14 months later, its wish would become reality, when the Sinatra recording was broadcast down to earth from moonbound Apollo 11.

“This is probably one of the greatest folk songs ever written, it tells a marvelous story, you know this well, it was a big hit for me”, Sinatra tells his audience over the string section’s opening chords for Ervin Drake’s IT WAS A VERY GOOD YEAR, from the Grammy-awarded 1965 album “September Of My Years”, a song that won Gordon Jenkins a Grammy for the best arrangement and the singer another one for the best male vocal. Sinatra transformed the piece that had introduced by the Kingston Trio in 1961 into “a powerful life-affirming statement” (Ed O’Brien) with a very strong autobiographical touch, on a level of both melancholic and optimistic self-reflection that ranges lightyears above, say, the lyrics of My Way. Being in much better vocal shape than two years earlier, Frank easily tops the 1966 version from the Sands, delivering a moving performance that becomes the emotional highlight of the evening. “Weee’d hide from the liightsss / on the village greeennnn / when I was seventeeennn”. The city girls, the perfumed hair, the riding in limousins, “their chauffeurs would driiivvve / when I was thirty-fiiiivvve”. Sinatra, now 52, looks back, as Ed O’Brien puts it (Sinatra 101, pp. 136 sq.), “on a lifetime of incredible highs and lows [and] sings with greater insight and feeling than ever before … to the hauntingly beautiful and brilliantly understated score of Gordon Jenkins”. In 1965, for a CBS special celebrating the singer’s 50st birthday, a TV camera happily captured Sinatra during the recording session for this song, preserving the moment of a singer and his special song getting as close as can be. Three years later, it’s audibly still the same. A Sinatra moment to be treasured: “Like vintage wine from old kegs.”

“My friend and conductor and pianist, Bill Miller from Burbank, California” says Sinatra, introducing his long-time musical companion to the audience, whose fine work they had witnessed several times this evening (a year later, Sinatra would help him through probably the most difficult time of his life, when an early 1969 mudslide killed Miller’s wife, leaving the pianist badly injured and the house destroyed). The orchestra is rewarded with firm applause as well.

“They’re all drunk I think… won’t be long!” Sinatra quips before going for his show-stopper, Cahn and Van Heusen’s MY KIND OF TOWN, a song that quickly became a Sinatra staple following its introduction in “Robin & The Seven Hoods” (1964) and the release of the 1963 Reprise recording. “Here’s one of the most exciting songs I sing in clubs or wherever I work”. That’s what it would remain – he never performed it badly. Surging powerfully during the second chorus, Sinatra brings the evening to a swinging close. “One town that will neveer let you down / It’s myyy / all of it is myyy / myyy kind of towwnn / Chicaaago / Chicaaago / Chicaaago / myyy kind / of tooo-ooown / – Chicago!” 1968, by the way, would become an important year for future Sinatra concert closings: On December 30, he went to the studios to record a French chanson called “Comme d’habitude” (“As usual”) with new English lyrics by Paul Anka. The song was entitled – “My Way”.

The band picks up the theme of “Kick” while Sinatra takes his bowes in front of an excited audience, before delivering a final speech: “Ladies and gentlemen, you have been most gracious, and I am quite grateful for your attendance and your applause, and your reason of being here. And I hope that in the very near future, that I will be back here, in not too distant future, with the candidate. I thank you and God bless you, and I see you very soon.” Audibly, he throws a kiss, as the band reprises its farewell. A memorable evening is over.

To sum it up, finally having this memorable performance on record should be called one of the most important additions to the vast Sinatra discography for years, if only on another unofficial release.

This boot was made for playing, and that’s just what we’ll do. Or to quote the liner notes: “Turn on the CD player, and cast your vote for … Frank Sinatra”.

As if himself being the Guv’nor wasn’t already forever.

Top 25 Academy Award broadcast

If there is in fact no 26th show, then there had to be no broadcast on one of the Tuesdays. Until the 26th show, or proof of it’s existence, turns up, I’m going on the assumption that no program was transcribed for 11/3/53 ,which was an Election Day, and that NBC used the time slot for election returns. If anyone has infromation that would clear this up, I’d appreciate hearing about it. The recording for episode 25 is followed by a promo announcement for the Academy Award broadcast of 1954, so it’s certain that the date for that show was 3/23/54. It’s also fairly certain that the “Department Store Santa ” was broadcast for Christmas, on 12/22/53.


1. 10-06-53 Oyster Shucker
alternate title: Pearl Smugglers

Directed by Andrew C. Love – no writer given
Supporting cast: Lynn Allen, Jack Kruschen, William Oiler,
Jack Nestel, Lou Mal

First show. The agency sends Rocky to work at the 50 Fathoms Clam House, and he gets caught up in a pearl smuggling ring. ———————————————————————————————-
2. 10-13-53 Steven In A Rest Home
alternate title: Insurance Fraud
alternate title: Steven Crandall
alternate title: Double Indemnity

Directed by Andrew C. Love (no writer credit given)
Supporting cast: Frances Eurey, Maurice Hart, Jack Maither, Herb Ellis, Stanley Frasier, Steven Chase, Lynn Allen

The employment agency sends Rocky to 159 Houston Street to work as a chauffeur.
He’s knocked out and comes to days later in the Mount Kinsey rest home in Colorado, where he goes through a brainwashing treatment to make him think he’s someone named “Steven Crandall.” He’s expected to take Crandall’s place so he can be killed and the insurance money (double indemnity) can be collected.
The villains here apparently do not have access to the latest forms of brainwashing. They attempt to accomplish it by putting a pail over Rockey’s head and repeatedly banging it!
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3. 10-20-53 Ship’s Steward
alternate title: Shipboard Jewel Robbery

Written by George Lefferts, directed by Andrew C. Love
Supporting cast: Tony Barrett, Marvin Miller, Lynn Allen, Norma Varden, Shep Mencken

Rocky gets a job as a steward on a luxury liner from Bermuda to New York. As usual, he’s knocked out – this time in the cabin of Lady Harkness. When he wakes up there’s $50,000 in jewelry missing, and he’s the prime suspect.
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4. 10-27 -53 Pintsized Payroll Bandit
alternate title: Short Order Cook

Written by George Lefferts, based on a story by Robert Senadella. Directed by Andrew C. Love
Supporting cast: Richard Beales, Bibi Janis, Eddie Fields, Barney Phillips, Frank Richards

Rocky is working as a night counter-man at an all night diner. One night Mickey, “a nine year old cowboy with freckles and a shoebox under his arm” comes into the diner. Inside the shoebox is $50,000.00 from a payroll robbery.
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5. 11-10-53 $100 An Hour Messenger
alternate title: Messenger Boy
alternate title: Messenger for Murder

Written by George Lefferts, directed by Andrew C. Love
Supporting cast: Marion Richman, Georgia Ellis, Bill Justine, Parley Baer, Ted Vonnelse

Rocky works for the “Instant Messenger Service.” Laura Chandler – a nervous blonde with “a figure like Swedish stemware,” hires Rocky to deliver a package and gets him involved in blackmail and murder.
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6. 11-17-53 A Little Jazz Goes A Long Way To Murder
alternate title: A Hepcat Kills the Canary

Written by George Lefferts, directed by Andrew C. Love
Supporting cast: Jack Kruschen, Jean Tatum, Tim Holland, Frank Gerstel, Barney Phillips

Rocky’s old buddy Buggsy Barton asks Rocky to help out by playing bass at the Hotel Zanzibar. Barton’s regular bass man, Johnny Lament, is “on the sauce”, after breaking up with his girlfriend Evie Johnson. evie winds up stabbed to death, and for a change it’s not Rocky who’s framed, but Johnny’s singer, Dolores Kane. Rocky tries to help her, but a disappearing body and some drug dealers complicate the situation.
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7. 11-24-53 Drama Critic’s Bodyguard
alternate title: Nursemaid To a Drama Critic
alternate title: Murder on the Aisle [often misspelled as “Murder On The Isle”]

Written by Ernest Kinoy, directed by Fred Weihe
Supporting cast: Elaine Ross, Leslie Wood, Stotts Cottsworth, Bill Zuckert (substituting for Barney Phillips as Hamilton J. Finger), Arnold Moss, Roger DeKoven, James Muntz

Rocky is sent by the agency to Knickerbocker Magazine where publisher Walter Partridge hires him to babysit alcoholic drama critic Burke Whitimore, the most hated man on Broadway. Whitimore is murdered in his seat while watching a play, and as usual Rocky is the prime suspect. —————————————————————————————————–
8. 12-01-53 Art Store Handyman
alternate title: Parlormaid To a Statue
alternate title: Murder Among the Statues

Written by Ernest Kinoy, directed by Fred Weihe
Supporting cast: Jan Miner, Ted Osborne, Leon Janney, Joseph Julian, Ed Begley, Mandell Kramer

The agency sends Rocky to work as handyman for Oliver Bates, who imports cheap statue reproductions and sells them as fine art. Murder, of course, and a Maltese Falcon type of plot.
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9. 12-08-53 The Kid And The Carnival
alternate title: Carnival One Way

Written by George Lefferts, directed by Fred Weihe
Supporting cast: Bryna Raeburn, David Seffer, Mason Adams, Bill Griffith, Ken Williams, Leon Janney

Rocky hangs around a carny looking for work. When a nine year old Billy Grayson turns up with no money, and claims he has no mother, Rocky feels sorry for him and treats him to a day at the carnival. After a visit to Madame Zsa Zsa’s fortune teller’s tent, they go to the House of Mystery. Billy goes in, and doesn’t come out. When Billy’s guardian shows up. Rocky is accused of kidnapping.
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10. 12-15-53 Paid Companion
alternate title: Companion To A Chimp

Written by George Lefferts, directed by Andrew C. Love
Supporting cast: Herb Vigran, Barney Phillips as Sgt. Hamilton J. Finger, Nestor Paiva, Jean Bates, Alice Backus, Jerry Hausner, Gloria Ann Simpson. The employment agency sends Rocky to PR man Marty Bunson, who hires him to work as a paid companion to Senator G. Godfrey Jiggs – a chimpanzee on Mindy Lane’s televison show. Rocky gets knocked out, and the chimp is kidnapped. It’s a publicity stunt that goes wrong, and Bunson is killed.
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11. 12-22-53 Department Store Santa
alternate title: The Plot To Murder Santa Claus

Written by George Lefferts, directed by Andrew C. Love
Supporting cast: Ted Vonnelse, Mary McGovern, Kay Stewart, Frank Gerstel, Barney Phillips, Bill Justine, Jim Nusser

Rocky takes a job with Krackenbaum’s as a store detective and lunch time Santa. When the regular Santa is murdered, the police suspect Rocky. An orphan, her doll, and some stolen pearls complicate things.
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12. 12-29-53 Prize Fighter
alternate title: Prize Fighter Setup

Written by George Lefferts, directed by Andrew C. Love
Supporting cast: Barney Phillips as as Sgt. Hamilton J. Finger, Jack Maither, Joe Forte, Jack Carroll, Maya Gregory, Maurice Hart

Rocky is mistaken for Luis Gondolfo, a Bolivian boxer scheduled to fight – and lose – at the Garden. Gondolfo didn’t like the odds – 6 to 1 against him – and disappeared, leaving crooked promoter Mike Mitchell and his henchman Stanley in a bad spot. It turns out that Rocky’s a dead ringer for the Great Gondolfo, and they decide to have him replace Gondolfo in the ring against Kid Cool.
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13. 01-05-54 Love And Death
alternate title: On The Trail Of A Killer
alternate title: Sister Ellie’s Dead

Written by Norman Sickel, directed by Andrew C. Love
Supporting cast: Paula Victor, Tom McKee, John Sutton, Barney Phillips, Jay Laughlin, Maurice Hart

Ellie, the sister of one of Rocky’s neighborhood buddies, was “fast, frustrated and forty.” She spent her life raising her brothers and sisters and seeing them married off; now it’s her turn for a little happiness. She marries someone from a personal ad; six months later she’s dead. The court rules it an accident, but Rocky sets out to prove otherwise.
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14. 01-12-54 Ride ’em Cowboy
alternate title: Rodeo Murder

Written by: Ernest Kinoy, directed by Andrew C. Love
Supporting cast: Dan Riss, Marian Richman, Don Diamond, Tony Barrett

Rocky is sent by the agency to the 9th Avenue Arena to work at the Grand National Rodeo as administrative assistant to the rodeo’s owner, Colonel Larabee. Rocky is slugged from behind when someone tries to steal the rodeo receipts. When Larabee is murdered, Rocky is the prime suspect.
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15. 01-19-54 Murder In The Museum
alternate title: The Museum Murder
alternate title: Museum of Ancient History

Written by George Lefferts, directed by Howard Wiley
Supporting cast: June Foray, Gloria Grant, Barney Phillips as Sgt. Hamilton J. Finger, Dick Beales, Dan Riss

Rocky’s job this week is as an “inside talker on a Manhattan tour bus.” At the “Museum of Ancient History” one of his three passengers, Linda Koogleman, turns up dead in a sarcophagus. Rocky gets hit on the head from behind, and the corpse disappears – twice.
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16. 01-26-54 Hollywood Or Boom
alternate title: Hauling Nitro

Written by George Lefferts, directed by Andrew C. Love Supporting cast: Frank Gerstel, Lynn Allen, Bill Justine, Howard Culver, Jack Carroll, and Maurice Hart.

Rocky hires on to help “Doc” Dougherty drive a truckload of nitroglycerin from New York to Los Angeles. Before long he finds himself riding with a beautiful redhead, a corpse, and Mike “The Butcher,” one of America’s Most Wanted.
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17. 02-02-54 Football Fix

Written by Doc Sanford , directed by Andrew C. Love
Supporting cast: Burt Holland, Lou Krugman, Ted Bonnelse, Maurice Hart, Joe Forte, Bibi Janis, Eddie Fields, Lee Mallar, Jack Maither.

Quarterback Jerry Brady is involved with Burt Addison, owner of the Tigers. Addison wants him to throw a game. Brady hires Rocky to help him get out of fixing a game, only the fix is already in.
[Note: Rocky starts singing “I’ve Got The World On A String,” but is interrupted by a gun in his back.]
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18. 02-09-54 Social Director
alternate title: Catskills Cover-up

Written by ?, directed by ? [no credits]
Supporting cast: none given

Momma Greenspan asks Rocky to return to his old job as social director at Greenspan’s Villa in the Catskills, but she really needs him to protect her gambler son Larry from gangster Buggsy Martin.
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19. 02-16-54 Too Many Husbands
alternate title: The Too Much Married Blonde

Written by Norman Sickel, directed by Andrew C. Love.
Supporting cast: Barney Phillips as Sgt Hamilton J.
Finger, Betty Lou Gerson, John Stevenson, Maurice Hart

Lu, a hot blonde from New Orleans picks up Rocky on the unemployment line and offers him $ 5,000 to kill her husband. Her first husband, Marvin, is being released from prison and she wants Rocky to dispose of her second husband, wealthy Park Avenue attorney Perry Shane. Rocky calls Sgt. Finger and hums “From Here To Eternity” while the phone rings. Sgt. Finger answers and cracks “Don’t tell me….Frank Sinatra!”
Shane is so grateful to Rocky for saving his life he offers him a job as process server.
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20. 02-23-54 Hit List
alternate title: Decoy For Death
alternate title: The Grinder

Written by George Lefferts, directed by Andrew C. Love
Supporting cast: Jack Nestle, Barney Phillips, Kay Stewart, Jack Maither, Tony Barrett, George Pembroke

Carl “The Grinder” breaks out of prison and is hunting down the three men who are responsible for his conviction. Rocky’s on the list, and he’s drafted as a decoy.
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21. 03-02-54 Drug Addict alternate title: The Doctor’s Dilemma
alternate title: Drug Attic (sp)

Written by Norman Sickel, directed by Andrew C. Love.
Supporting cast: Raymond Burr, Maurice Hart, Jack Carroll, Georgia Ellis, Barney Phillips

Rocky works as a process server for wealthy Park Avenue attorney Perry Shane. Fortune had saved Shane’s life and was given the job as a reward in Episode 20. Shane’s friend and client, Doctor Jonas, is a wealthy Park Avenue physician and head of the Witherspoon Clinic. $25,000 in drugs is missing from his office and the clinic. Jonas says his son, Stanley – an addict and pusher – forged orders and stole the drugs, and he asks Rocky to help.
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22. 03-09-54 Let’s Find A Murderer
alternate title: Incident In A Bar
alternate title: Fresh Corpse
Written by George Lefferts, directed by Andrew C. Love
Supporting cast: Paul Frees, Barney Phillips, Jack Nestel, George Perone, Eda Reese Marin

Rocky and his old pal Sam from P.S. 46 meet in a bar, get drunk, and decide to play a game of “find the murderer,” only it turns out not to be a game after all.
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23. 03-16-54 The Little Voice Of Murder
alternate title: Psychological Murder
alternate title: Witness To A Will/Witness To A Kill

Written by Norman Sickel directed by Andrew C. Love
Supporting cast: Maurice Hart, Marvin Miller, Betty Lou Gerson, Frank Gerstel

Rocky is still working for Perry Shane as process server. Shane asks Rocky to witness the will of Jane Bigelow. Mrs. Bigelow is convinced that she is losing her mind, and that she will kill her husband Tom. Shane asks Rocky to stay at the Bigelow home in Long Island to keep an eye on things.
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24. 03-23-54 Rocket To The Morgue
alternate title: Rocket Racket
alternate title: Zenith Foundation

Written by George Lefferts, directed by Andrew C. Love
Supporting cast: Howard Culver, Don Diamond, Dan Riss, Edith Terry, William Oiler

The employment agency (now known as Uncle’s Employment Service) sends Rocky to the Zenith Foundation and he winds up at a home-made rocket base in a Utah desert run by a Colonel Sam Jones, a wealthy Texas oil man with a fondness for science fiction. His job – to be the first man in space!
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25. 03-30-54 Boarding House Doublecross

Written by George Lefferts, directed by Andrew C. Love
Supporting cast: Frank Richards, Gloria Ann Simpson, Jim Eagles, Virginia Gregg, Eddie Fields, Maurice Hart

Rocky moves to 55 Bishop Street, to a boarding house run by “Ma” Thompson and her son Lenny. $5.00 a week for a room with a view – of the garbage bin. Within a few minutes Gerald Kinsey shows up, claiming that the room is his, and that Ma and Lenny kidnapped his wife. Rocky has to figure out who’s telling the truth, and he winds up getting a closer look at the garbage bin than he bargained for. Last show of series

Rocky Fortune

The “Rocky Fortune” program starring Frank Sinatra, was broadcast on NBC, on Tuesday nights from October 6, 1953 through March 30, 1954.

To quote from “Frank Sinatra: An American Legend,” by Nancy Sinatra:

“In the midst of all his personal angst, Frank made light of his tumultuous life in a weekly radio series called ‘Rocky Fortune.’ in which he starred as a ‘footloose and fancy free young gentleman’ who always seemed to get himself into-and out of-trouble. It remained on the air for the next 26 weeks.”

“Rocky Fortune” worked on many levels. On the surface it was a mystery-adventure along the lines of such popular radio shows as “Johnny Dollar.” Look a little beneath the surface, and it becomes a very clever parody of that genre.

The same well-worn plot devices were repeated week after week. Rocky stumbles upon a crime scene, gets slugged on the head from behind, and knocked unconcious. When he wakes up – usually in the presence of a corpse – he finds himself being accused of the crime. Or he picks up a girl – an empty headed bimbo or damsel in distress – who turns out to be an undercover agent. Or he finds a body and reports it to his police sergeant buddy, Hamilton J. Finger, with whom he has a long-standing “friendly enemy” relationship. When Finger arrives at the scene, the corpse has invariably disappeared, and Finger does the radio equivalent of a slow burn.

No matter how you look at it, “Rocky Fortune” was, first and foremost, a vehicle for Sinatra to be himself. Not a program went by where he didn’t make a typical Sinatra wisecrack or insert a well-known Sinatraism, such as referring to someone as “Sam.” Also, “From Here To Eternity” had opened that August, and Frank frequently used the “Rocky Fortune” series to promote the film (and his own oscar nomination). As the series wound to a close and the date of the Academy Awards presentation approached, it seemed as though he managed to inject the words “from here to eternity” into almost every show. It became a running gag, like Jack Benny’s “A Horn Blows At Midnight.”

Many of the people who worked on the Rocky Fortune shows were also connected with other Sinatra ventures – writer Norm Sickel, for example, wrote what were to beome the”Tone Poems Of Color.” Marvin Miller acted in one of the episodes; he also announced the Old Gold shows. Maurice Hart appeared frequently on “Fortune,” and also announced on Broadway Bandbox. Most of the episodes were written by George Lefferts and directed by Andrew C. Love, although other writers and directors would be used from time to time.

For the most part the supporting cast consisted of character actors whose faces or voices, if not their names, would be immediately recognizable to most people. Some of the more well known peformers who appeared on “Rocky Fortune” were Jack Kruschen and Raymond Burr (both of whom had parts in “Meet Danny Wilson;” and Ed Begley (Sr.).

Information about Rocky himself is a bit vague. He’s a loner, who gets bored with life easily. He remedies that boredom either “by taking a job or losing one.” Announcer Eddie King always began each show by describing him as “that footloose and fancy free young gentleman, Rocky Fortune.” In some of the shows he substituted or added the phrase “and frequently unemployed.” Rocky was born Rocco Fortunato, in Brooklyn, NY. He described himself as an orphan, but also claimed to have a pair of maiden aunts. He attended PS 46. Not much else is revealed about his life, until World War II. He was a veteran, and fought at Anzio. His address is given variously as 52 or 55 or 25 Bleekman Street in Brooklyn, Apartment 2B. He’s made a few enemies, so it’s not strange that he should want to be vague about where he can be found.

Employed or not, Rocky possesed a variety of skills. Although, as Nancy has said, his most notable talent was for getting into trouble, he had a hack license, a chauffeur’s license, belonged to the steamfitters union, had a maritime card and a truckers card, and had worked at a carnival. He could also fake enough bass to play at weddings and bar-mitzvahs.

For most of the series, Rocky received his job assignments from the Gridley Employment Agency, usually just called “the agency”. For a while he worked as a process server for attorney Perry Shane. Shane gave Rocky the job after Rocky had saved his life. The only character – friend and adversary – who is constant throughout the series is Sergeant Hamilton J. Finger – a solid, although slightly dumb, cop who works out of what is frequently referred to as “the Irish clubhouse.” Rocky, while basically honest, is not above giving Finger a sock on the jaw to knock him out when he becomes more of a hindrance than a help.

Rocky had his own set of morals and standards; he was true to his friends, and trouble to his enemies. If he liked someone, he’d stand by them even if it meant going against his own best interests. If that sounds like someone else we all know, I wouln’t be at all surprised.

Lack of dates and specific episode titles had previously made it difficult to come up with a 100% accurate log, Whether there are actually 26 programs or only 25 is still up for debate. Only 25 programs can be found in general circulation among collectors. Published logs that listed 26 episodes were shown to be in error, in each case with one program being listed twice, under two separate dates and using two different titles. By comparing the “teasers” at the end of each show with the plots of the programs they referenced, I have managed to consecutively link all of the 25 shows but one. “The Kid and the Carnival” had no teaser, so it follows that if there is a 26th program, it must come between “Carnival” and “Companion To A Chimp.”

It Gets Lonely Early

Now, as there are preserved ‘audible’ documents of Sinatra recording sessions, documents of an outstanding artist shaping one of his timeless masterpieces, can the audition of these sessions, of so-called “out-takes” and alternates preceding the final masters, possibly harm our appreciation of Sinatra’s artistry ? Certainly not: They can only add to our understanding of what made Sinatra great. That’s why these recordings have to be, and will be made available.

Yet from a very prominent source in the Sinatra world, it has recently been stated that through releasing material that wasn’t meant for official publication, including the Artisan series of recording sessions, the “integrity” of Sinatra’s musical artistry gets harmed. The above should have made it clear that such harm can’t possibly be done by any “workshop” release. But how about the official releases – do they preserve that “integrity” ?

In many cases recently, the very opposite is the case – and the “Inside September” release provides a perfect example: Sinatra’s recording session for “It Gets Lonely Early”.

On the Reprise album, the song starts with Sinatra, following a seemingly perfect orchestral intro as arranged by Gordon Jenkins, easing into the refrain lyrics: “Whennn you’re alone / allll your children grown / aaannnd like starlings / flownnn awayyyyy”. Now from the sessions release, we learn that the album version is take 14, and that in the previous takes, after the orchestral introduction, Sinatra was supposed to sing the verse before going for the above refrain (“Is it two o’clock, or ten o’clock, it doesn’t matter much…”) We hear how Sinatra keeps struggling with the verse; having finally delivered a complete take including the verse (take 12) but still not being satisfied, he decides to skip the verse completely, and then delivers a perfect recording, as heard on the Reprise album release. We also notice that the bells featured in Jenkins’ intro were originally scheduled to refer to the first lines of the verse, and remain present in the released version. By knowing all this, is our appreciation of the “final product” affected by any means ? Of course it isn’t: Jenkins’ clock-like bells continue to symbolize time passing by.

When preparing the Reprise “suitcase”, it was decided to add the verse from take 12 to the previously published recording of take 13: The result is an artificial product, the sounds of which come closer to what was originally scheduled, but at the same time somehow ignore the artist’s “original” feelings at the session. In terms of sticking to the “integrity” of the artist’s work, it would have been better to issue the complete take 12 in its entirety, maybe as a bonus track, rather than adding the verse of take 12, intercut-like, to a recording sung and approved by Sinatra *knowingly* excluding the verse, and without the aim to make such an intercut. Needless to say that the ‘suitcase’ liner notes on “It Get’s Lonely Early” completely ignore these specifics.

This may sound very academic, but it proves that defining the “integrity” of studio work isn’t as simple as official policy would like to make us believe. Not to speak of the making of Duets, or the live samplers dubbed to be original concerts: With these, the contrast between commercial fact and website fiction becomes a Grand Canyon – while Frank Sinatra himself, for six decades, stuck to his motto *never* to cheat his audience.

Of course, the decisions by the ‘officials’ have to be respected – respecting them, of course, says nothing about them being wise or false. In my opinion, the people in charge should acknowledge Frank’s position as a musical legend, the historical importance of the material he recorded, and therefore, instead of blocking and blacklisting session releases, should participate in issuing these essential documents. If indeed it isn’t about money (and that’s what the official statements are saying), I can’t see how Sinatra session releases could do any harm to keeping the flame of the singer’s artistry burning.

However, if it *is* about money, why not just say so. It is perfectly legitimate for any company to seek profits. It is also perfectly legitimate to act against illegally copied product, e.g. against black pressings of recordings that have been officially released. The majority of the blacklisted items, however, contain material that is not available anywhere else. So what to do if you run the official, legitimately profit-orientated Sinatra marketing company ? You can have your lawyers post legal threats and accuse the customers, including those thousands who have been buying Sinatra products for a lifetime, of willingly hurting the artist as a person. Of course, you could also say to yourself, these are potential customers, how can I win them over for official product ? Assemble your marketing and distribution specialists and have them analyse the market – very obviously, there is a market for concert recordings as well as session material. Next, check your archives. Invite the Sinatra experts and have yourself being advised of other material that would be worth a release. Make a list of possible products – and issue them in suitable packages. And if all turns out well, you might even save a lawyer’s annual wages.

A hundred years from today, in order to study the singer’s technique and appreciate his musical impact, popular music scholars will be examining session releases, rather than counting all the Greatest Hits samplers. They will be thankful for those who took care of the material and preserved it on record. And as it seems, they will be wondering why people once chose to ignore its value and condemn those who cared about it.

And maybe they will have some of the blacklists on display at the curiosity section of the next Sinatra exhibition.

True artistry always endures. The Sinatra songbook will be no exception.

About Keeping the Flame

I suppose most, if not all of you, would agree that the 1965 ‘September Of My Years’ with Gordon Jenkins on Reprise ranks among Frank Sinatra’s most distinguished albums ever, joining “Sinatra & Strings” with Don Costa (1961) and “Moonlight Sinatra” with Nelson Riddle (1965) as the best recording project of Sinatra’s first five years at his new label. The recent 2 CD set “Inside September” (Artisan CD 609-2), following similar issues on the other two prime albums and being the ninth release in the series, now covers what must be called another four legendary Sinatra recording sessions. As with the previous issues in the Artisan series, it is both fascinating and educating to listen to the undefeated Champion of Storytelling shaping his approach on the lyrics.

It’s like you have been admiring the filigree composition of an Italian Renaissance palace building and now suddenly get invited to look over its architect’s shoulders. How did the elements that form the building get together ? Which of them came along somewhat naturally, and which of them were shaped, or even discovered, during the construction process ? When it comes to seriously approaching the works of outstanding artists, in all fields of human culture, one has to get back to the sources.

It is most obvious with the fine arts: Let’s say Michelangelo – or Rodin. Sketches made by Michelangelo in preparation for his most famous paintings, or models made by Rodin in preparation for his most famous sculptures, have since been examined by generations of scholars, in order to get a better understanding of the artist’s immortal work of art – and of course, whenever possible, the drafts and models are carefully preserved by and exhibited at the museums world-wide, together with the final product. Is the view of the Sistine Chapel less breathtaking because you’ve seen Michelangelo’s sketches before at the Vatican Museum ? Does any exhibition of “workshop artifacts” at the Musee d’Orsay keep you from cherishing the views of Rodin’s sculptures as an absolute highlight of any Paris tour d’horizon ? Certainly not: If anything, you will be looking more closely, and from a much more sophisticated point of view, maybe noticing details you wouldn’t have been aware of otherwise. That’s why all the draftings have been, should be and will continue to be, displayed.

The same thing applies to the great literates and their works, say, Goethe and Schiller, or Hemingway. All surviving original manuscripts are carefully preserved, and scholars world-wide use them to publish critical editions of the writings, documenting shifts and turns of the author in fixing the final text, and by doing so, sharpening our perception of what ideas and schemes have influenced the writers. Does such research do any harm to our appreciation of their library ? Certainly not: It only enhances our understanding of the material. That’s why all those critical editions continue to be published.

The great composers: Let’s say Mozart and Beethoven, or Gershwin. The rare autographs, corrected manuscripts of various famous compositions that have luckily survived, are carefully preserved since they fundamentally add to any scholar’s approach, from corrected single notes to completely rewritten passages. Would such background information on ‘Requiem’, or the famous “Ninth”, or “Rhapsody In Blue” ever diminish our appreciation of these timeless musical classics ? Certainly not: They simply draw our attention to specific passages, and help to define their special place in the context of musical history. That’s why all the surviving documents continue to be analysed.

As the 20th century spins to a close, when it comes to discussing who will probably be forever representing its artistic essence, there is a new element to be considered in the musical field, the artistry of recording. In the field of popular music connected to the ‘American Songbook’, Frank Sinatra is most likely to be topping any list (at least of male singers) of 20th century recording artists, through his numerous timeless recordings deriving from a 50 years plus studio career, in which he displayed his unique talent of ‘telling a story’, of bringing even slight song lyrics directly across to the listener by making them sound honest. It is the art of interpretation: Sinatra’s instrument is his voice, his phrasing and nuancing of the lyrics. In other words: In the field of 20th century’s popular music, Sinatra’s (and a few other artists’) recordings in a sense become the ‘audible’ equivalent of what Michelangelo’s and his contemporary painters’ works are for 16th century’s revolutionary ‘visible’ culture, or Goethe’s writings for 19th century’s (at least in Europe) ‘readable’ intellectual essence.