Frank Sinatra – Songs For Swingin’ Lovers! (1956)

Before The Beatles, rock and roll had a mild introduction into the world of music. Jazz was still the main form of music listened to at this time. Frank Sinatra had a career turnaround with his album released in 1955 In The Wee Small Hours. It was a great record, and paved the way for future classics done by “old blue eyes”.

This is completely different from the album released the year before. Instead of laments about love lost, we find ourselves swinging to happy, positive songs about being in love with someone special. It’s definitely a different listen, so here we go.

We kick off with the upbeat You Make Me Feel So Young referring to the youthful love experience at hand. It alludes to childhood delights and the wonderful feeling of bliss involved. This album sounds great from the word go, it’s a lovely piece.

The next piece, It Happened In Monterey refers to a love that was magical met long ago in Mexico. Now, this piece of music does seem lyrically melancholic, but musically is anything but. Frank Sinatra seems happy about it all, and it is a great listen. Obviously, he misses the lady in question. But it’s a well orchestrated piece here for sure.

You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me refers to a love that never dies, and in fact, intensifies over time. Could one these days make a successful pop song like this? Doubtfully so. It refers to the habit of love needed “as regularly as coffee or tea”. Nice stuff here.

You Brought A New Kind Of Love To Me is really inspired. It’s so classy sounding, and outright great listening that one is tempted to fall in love with the music here. Better than most contemporary artists out there today, and that is saying something right here. It sounds sort of suspenseful too.

The next song, Too Marvelous For Words is a very lovely piece devoted to a direct love in one’s life. It still sounds upbeat and positive that it lifts the mood up high in a positive way. It refers to Webster’s Dictionary and birds as well. A great listen.

After that, we have the wonderfully sung Old Devil Moon referring to a look in a partner’s eyes on a great night out together. Lyrically, it is just so good here. Suitable music for any modest dinner party with friends at home, this album is.

Pennies From Heaven refers to a dream like state of thinking where coins fall out of the sky. Perhaps Syd Barrett got his ideas from these sorts of lyrics? Maybe, maybe not. It’s another really great sounding tune though. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Love Is Here To Stay is a lovely piece about eternal love and feeling good about it. These days, people are lucky to survive a marriage longer than 2-3 years. But this is a blissful song. No questions asked. The music here is quality, not quantity.

The next piece is the now classic tune I’ve Got You Under My Skin. It’s one of the most famous songs from Frank Sinatra ever. Why is this so? It’s a great performance, period. Frank Sinatra sings along very well here, a must listen. The suspense and instrumentation here is terrific.

After this, we have I Thought About You which is a reminder of love at hand. It’s another swinging number that just sounds great. This album is consistent all the way through, which is why it deserves its place in history as one of the best albums not just by Frank Sinatra, but of all time. Mint.

We’ll Be Together Again is a reminder of a love that is being missed. But hold on, it’s not totally dreary. In fact, Frank Sinatra pulls off the need and desire for a lover so well here, it’s a great little number. A nice listen.

Makin’ Whoopee refers to making love in the title and the lyrics indicate this too. It’s a lovely song, showing off Frank Sinatra’s cheerful and crooner style voice here. Nobody does this sort of music better than Frank Sinatra himself. A nice piece.

The lovely piece Swingin’ Down The Lane is very old fashioned indeed. It’s a joyful ode to love and dancing. It puts a 1950’s style imagery of lovers in your mind that are dancing to this sort of music. Great stuff.

The subtle sounding Anything Goes is a lyrically nonsensical piece about people’s love and individual preferences in life. A nice, yet strange piece. It is still as enjoyable as the other songs here, mind you.

How About You? is the last piece on the album. It has our singer telling us what he enjoys best, and asking if you also enjoy the same things as well as much as Frank Sinatra does. A nice way to finish this album.

This is truly a great listen. If you love vocal jazz in a pop context, do start here. It’s one of Frank Sinatra’s best albums too. Give this album a whirl, it still sounds as good today as it did in 1956.

Smooth.

9/10

Paul Van Dyk – Volume – The Best Of Paul Van Dyk (2009)

Trance music has never been predictable. Indeed, it is a crescendo of highs and lows in the electronic music world. Well known German DJ Paul Van Dyk put together this mix for us, a greatest hits mix showing off his music so far.

It’s a good minimalistic Trance Music sort of listening, and actually for this genre, is more quality than quantity. It’s a great way to hear some fresh tunes, so let’s jump in.

We begin with For An Angel (PvD Remix ’09) which sounds minimal and melodic for a piece of trance music. It’s a nice introduction with rapid-fire melodies and pounding beats. It’s very simple but well done.

The next piece is Home feat. Johnny McDaid (PvD Club Mix) which is a nice trippy sort of piece. It’s all similar-sounding, but mixed and done so well that it is forgivable. A nice vocal piece is here, worth hearing.

Let Go feat. Rea Garvey (VANDIT Club Mix by PvD) is more techno-based and has some unusual sounds in it. This mix flows so well, that one will be impressed by it. It’s a memorable and catchy piece. In fact, all these tunes are. The change in this tune is awesome.

White Lies feat. Jessica Sutta (Album Mix) is an acid-based experience with intertwined melodies and some great singing from our guest. It’s a nice tune to hear with a few twists and interesting sounds to boot in it.

The minimalist Nothing But You feat. Hemstock & Jennings (Original) is a truly great piece. It is a club classic, with soul searching chanting in it. You must hear this one, it’s an awesome piece with wonderful sounds in it. This album is very, very good so far, and does not fail to impress.

After that, we have Another Way (PvD Club Mix) which has banging beats and acid sounds, once again. It seems that our main man, Paul Van Dyk, uses very similar sounds. But they never disappoint, and this track is proof of it.

Forbidden Fruit (Original) is an interesting trip. Although this album does not promote drug use, it is an almost drug-like experience. A nice chilled, trippy listen.

Together We Will Conquer (Short Version) has some really interesting cut-up drum beats and some nice vocals from a guest. It’s neither overly long nor boring this album, it is purely impressive. A great listen. It sounds totally reassuring.

The next cut, New York City featuring Starkillers & Austin Leeds feat. Ashley Tomberlin (Album Mix) has a guest singer here lyrically evoking about New York City on a clubbing night. It’s a nice touch, with some imaginative thinking about it. It’s a long piece for this recording.

The bass piano-like sound that drives A Magical Moment (Original) leads into an eerie and melodic piece. Not a single track on this album mixed sounds bad or out of place. Now, that’s great modern music! It is a short 4-minute piece but sounds like great clubbing music to chill to.

Words (For Love) sounds very much like a mixture of acid noises, techno, and trance. It is so futuristic that it sounds years ahead of the R & B on the radio today. It really is great. Some great drum rolls are here too.

Tell me Why (The Riddle) feat St. Etienne (PvD Club Mix) is a nice sounding piece featuring St. Etienne with some cut-up vocal phrases from our guest. It’s a good driven piece with a multitude of well-mixed sounds.

Next up is The Other Side feat. Wayne Jackson (Original) sounds musically intense. It’s a neo-Underworld style piece that sounds really good, and tasty. It’s a pacy piece as well. Good listening, with a processed acoustic guitar in it as well. It’s 8 minutes long but doesn’t feel like it is as such.

Following up is the blistering We Are Alive feat. Jennifer Brown (Original) which has a great repeating vocal melody and bombastic drums to boot. It breaks down into a melodic and computerised tune that is very danceable.

Time Of Our Lives feat. Vega 4 (US Radio Edit) is a nice little number reflective on said time of our lives. Melody and rhythm intertwine in such a wonderfully musical way. It’s a great listen for said reflection.

Wir Send Wir & Heppner (Radio Version) is a nice way to finish the album here. It’s a German song but done so well that it could have been English in its emotion. We finish the album off very well.

If you ever need a good listen to one of the greatest introductions to trance music, or just a great mix full of great tunes, start here. You will not be disappointed. The future is here.

9/10

Frank Sinatra – In The Wee Small Hours (1955)

The world was a totally different place back in 1955. Colour TV didn’t exist, every person on the street wore Victorian era like clothes and there were no social media outlets either, let alone computers.

In addition, Frank Sinatra was alive and well. After signing to Capitol Records, he delivered this – the first great LP ever made. LPs were a new thing at the time, and fortunately, the music here stands the test of time.

The album is a sort of Burt Bacharach take on love. Lots of heartbreak and misery written in the subjects of the lyrics. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s observe this fine album from Frank Sinatra.

We begin with In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning which sets the scene for Frank Sinatra. It’s about reflecting on love lost. This is about the loneliness and pain associated with it. A sad but great song. Excellent stuff. The lyrics here are awesome, despite the fact that Frank Sinatra never wrote his songs.

Following that, we have Mood Indigo. It uses the colour to reflect the mood and is an unhappy piece with reference to reflections on love. Many people can connect with this album, as no relationship is perfect. A nice piece though.

Glad To Be Unhappy follows. Frank Sinatra sings about the difference between idealistic love versus the reality of love. It’s a really good piece and can be mood provoking in sadness. A nice listen for the lyrics especially, as well as the melody.

I Get Along Without You Very Well is a great piece about moving on from a disappointing relationship. It sounds like Frank is singing about a lover who he is somewhat still infatuated with. It’s a good retrospective and reflective piece.

The next piece Deep In A Dream follows and it is about a dream of romantic illusion. It’s very descriptive and sounds very loving. It’s a sad reflection of the lack of love for a girl long gone. Nice work here by all parties who made the song. Mint.

The following song I See Your Face Before Me is a great reflection on the obsessiveness of a lover who our main man used to have. The whole album is also a concept album, perhaps unofficially so. Still, it’s a great listen all the way through. “I can’t erase your beautiful face, before me.” Wonderful lyrics indeed.

Can’t We Be Friends? is a lament for a sad outcome in a relationship. It’s about finding someone who at first, seems open to a relationship, but then uses that quote to turn down yourself. It’s another sad tale, but a rewarding listen.

When Your Lover Has Gone is about the split of lovers in affairs and other areas of romantic and sexual matters. The loneliness in Frank Sinatra’s voice here is outstanding. Given that this was the 1950s, the performances sound dead-on perfect with relation to lack of editing by digital means, as that did not exist at the time. A brilliant mood swinger here.

A question in What Is This Thing Called Love? It’s a sort of song for people who don’t know how to cope with love lost. It makes perfect sense to anybody who has had serious love in his or her life. Brilliant stuff.

The follow up Last Night When We Were Young talks about a past experience of love, long gone. The orchestral background in this album is really fantastic. Melancholy abounds everywhere here. It’s a very sad song indeed. Frank sounds very deeply emotional at the end of this song.

I’ll Be Around talks about hovering around for a lover who has already been taken. A very deep and meaningful piece about said scenario. Brilliant. Absolutely worth listening to.

Ill Wind begins with a clarinet melody before talking about a nasty scenario with the weather at hand. It loosely talks about love and disappointment with love. A good effort, and a nice performance by all.

The next piece It Never Entered My Mind talks about difficulties of coping with errors in relationships. It is a sad reflection on things, and being solitary in life without a love to be with.

The following song Dancing On The Ceiling is about using imagination to reflect on love lost. In a very unhappy state, our story unfolds to reveal how Frank Sinatra copes with it. An unusual song, but essential listening all the same.

I’ll Never Be The Same reveals how someone is destroyed by a failure in a romantic relationship. Frank Sinatra is underrated with his singing voice – and pulls every single song and note-off magnificently. A great job.

This Love Of Mine is the last song here. It concludes a truly great listen, and album. This song focuses on the loneliness of hurt from love. Brilliant job here by all involved.

Frank Sinatra broke with this album and began an upward trajectory with his music. He has recorded a huge amount of material throughout his life until he passed away in 1998 – some good, some not-so-good. This is likely one of his best recordings, if not his very best. This is hugely underrated today and is an absolutely essential listen.

If you like crooner style vocal jazz and want a starting point, begin here.

9/10