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Frank Sinatra - A Spectacular Return to the Columbia Years

12-26-2020 | By Robert S. Youman | Issue 113

Frank Sinatra, Sing and Dance with Frank Sinatra. Impex Records (33 RPM LP)

You gotta love Frank Sinatra. We have been streaming Mad Men during the lock down. Taken from the late 1950s and into the 1970s, you can't help but envision Frank swaggering about during that timeframe and era in America. Think Manhattan, dirty martinis, miniskirts, smoke filled rooms and trilby hats. Several of his songs were used to set the tone and feeling throughout the seven seasons. One line in particular came up a couple of times via the characters Bobbie Bennet and Don Draper, "I like being bad, then going home and being good." For me, this fits the Frank Sinatra mantra to a T and it comes through loud and clear in his music. He sure did have some fun and despair, and his fans (including me), greatly loved him for his entire rainbow of musical output and emotions!

From the original analog tapes, this 70th Anniversary 180 gram commemorative release of Sing and Dance with Frank Sinatra is an absolute gem of a reissue. We have to thank IMPEX for taking on this project. There are many Frank Sinatra fans out there who are just as passionate about his early Columbia years as his later output from Capital and Reprise, but this music never seems to get the respect that it deserves. There was been plenty of excitement generated after the initial announcement. I am happy to say that we have been greatly rewarded after all the anticipation and patience!

I also want to offer some big time congrats to Abey Fonn over at IMPEX and Chuck Granata, the acclaimed and highly respected Frank Sinatra historian and archivist. Their superb collaborative effort and leadership on this project has produced something quite memorable and well beyond expectations! Hopefully we will see some Industry recognition and awards in the near future. I rarely do this, but when the creativity and effort is this special, I want to acknowledge as many team members as possible—see the list below. You will note some familiar names that will indicate and verify the quality of the LP production and pressing, the packaging and all the research and history behind it. The fine print on the LP cover also notes that Nancy and Tina Sinatra played a role (very cool). Of course, any music from Frank Sinatra deserves the very best expertise and also the love and care that all of these folks obviously provided.

Originally issued on a 10 inch LP in 1950 with 8 tracks, we also get an additional five tracks of previously unreleased material including some wonderful chatter and direction from Frank in the studio. As stated in the release notes, apparently this was his "first fully-conceived big-band jazz album to appear on a modern, long-play vinyl record." Some tough decisions had to be made to either roll this out as an eight track 10 inch LP to stay true to the original, or the 12 inch LP with the additional tracks. Just my humble opinion, but I feel strongly that the right direction was taken. Not only do we get the extra bonus in terms of music, the additional LP surface area on a 12 inch LP and thus the simpler process for cutting the lacquers in this format should provide for better tracking and better sound. That strategy greatly succeeds—see my comments below on performance and sound.

My copy is perfectly flat and virtually noise free. The packaging is first class with an attractive glossy tip-on cover and gatefold. Definitely an impressive coffee table decorative and opportunity. All of the included pictures and graphics will quickly bring you back to a time that seemed so simple for many but not necessarily for Frank Sinatra. An insightful booklet that provides many historic facts and interesting anecdotes will reacquaint you with Frank's personal struggles at that time and some of the major players in his career. This includes the infamous George Siravo, who was a key arranger of his music, and A&R icon Mitch Miller, who greatly impacted his professional and musical choices while at Columbia. There is also a fascinating discussion of the state of vinyl and sound reproduction at that time.


Recorded at Columbia's famed 30th Street Studio, this mono recording is as good at it gets. I like to call this one of the few and highly desirable "Big Mono" LPs in my collection. By this I mean, that the sound stage and band is nicely layered with excellent separation from front to back, but it actually spreads from just inside one speaker to the other almost like a true stereo recording. It's sounds that big. It's sounds that good. Like I said in my review of the recent Blue Note Tone Poet reissue of Chet Baker Sings, it's the original mono recordings like this that helps you understand all the fuss made by the collectors and purists. Fast, spacious and powerful, this big band really swings and mono really delivers.

But, it's "Ol' Blue Eyes" and the voice that is clearly the star here. Check out track 3, "My Blue Heaven." Vocals just seem to float mid-stage with a richness and detail that brings him right into your listening room. If you are most familiar with his later years on television or if you were fortunate enough to catch some of his big production Las Vegas events or national tours, you might be surprised by the beauty and tone of his presentation at this age. Always the master of timing and phrase, these earlier recordings will help you understand how the legend and legacy first started. Again, Frank could really make a connection—both intellectually and emotionally. A must have for every collection. Don't wait too long as this is a limited edition pressing of 5000. Highly recommended!


  • IMPEX Special Edition Produced By: Charles L. Granata & Andreas Meyer
  • Executive Producers: Abey Fonn & Robert Bantz
  • Associate Producers: Martin M. Melucci & Robert Donnelly
  • Project Director: Henry Towns
  • Analog Master Transfers: Matt Cavaluzzo, Sony Music/Battery Studios
  • Analog LP Editing & Mastering: Andreas Myer, Swan Studios
  • LP Disc Cutting & Mastering: Chris Bellman, Bernie Grundman Mastering
  • LP Plating & Pressing: Rick Hashimoto, Dorin Sauervrier, Adam Webb, & Bryce Wilson, Record Technology Inc. (RTI)
  • Art Direction & Package Design: Robert Sliger, Hebegbestudio
  • Original Art Elements & Photos: Charles L. Granata, Tom Dwyer, The Sony Music Archive Sony/Legacy A&R: John Jackson
  • Tape Vault & Archival Research: Matt Kelly & Tom Tierney

Track List

Side 1 - The Complete, Original 10 inch Album Tracks:

  1. Lover
  2. It's Only A Paper Moon
  3. My Blue Heaven
  4. It All Depends On You
  5. You Do Something To Me
  6. Should I
  7. The Continental
  8. When You're Smiling (The Whole World Smiles With You)

Side 2 - Bonus Tracks, Alternate Takes & Sessions:

  1. Farewell, Farewell To Love
  2. Deep Night
  3. You Do Something To Me
  4. American Beauty Rose
  5. It All Depends On You