Frank Sinatra: A Voice On Air (1935-1955)

review sinatra x1 congThis 4CD deluxe box set comprises 100-odd tracks featuring radio broadcasts and rehearsals featuring Sinatra, and restored from the original recording masters.
This overview charts Sinatra’s evolution as a vocalist, and includes samples of his radio work from the first 20 years of his career.
Having just had Peter Andre’s swing album to review, this makes you realise how good Sinatra was: if Frank was the king of the jungle, Andre is an ant collecting leaves. The likes of Bublé are middle-ranking courtiers, but no-one can touch Sinatra.
We got this as a download and it’s installed itself on the iPod in random order, so we got Haunted Heart as the first track (Frank Sinatra with Axel Stordahl and The Hit Parade Orchestra), whereas in fact it’s track one on CD4 in the collection.
Three tracks in we got the opening song of the entire collection, Sinatra’s first radio performance in 1935, singing S-H-I-N-E with the Hoboken Four, but this mix of quality singing from Sinatra at his peak and scratchy old recordings with long-forgotten presenters made the collection more interesting for people who aren’t massive Sinatra fans.
Also early in the CD is a track where Fred Allen introduces a very shy-sounding young Frank Sinatra and the Four Sharps, a swing band playing Exactly Like You — an instrumental. Kiss Me Again, which can’t be much later, has a far more confident Frank introducing the song.
We’re not going to go through all 100 tracks but it’s an interesting play for both fans and non-fans. Fans get a number of unheard songs and early recordings, non-fans a collection of songs often linked by radio announcers and even Sinatra appealing for donations to the Red Cross, and adverts for smokes.
Despite the age of the recordings — Sinatra would have been 100 on 12th December — the audio quality is pretty good.
We’re pretty sure it will be playing in the Review Corner on Christmas morning.

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