Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Frank Sinatra Moonlight Sinatra 1966

Frank Sinatra actually invented the "concept" album, although the idea came to mean something more in the rock world. For Sinatra, the concept was really more of a theme. Sinatra made In The Wee Small Hours (ballads) in 1955 and Sings For Only The Lonely (heartbreak) in 1958, both during his heydays at Capitol Records.

Moonlight Sinatra came out on Reprise Records, and Sinatra's sixties records were more hit-and-miss than his work for Capitol in the fifties. While this one didn't chart very high, especially given that it was released just before the #1 Strangers In The Night, also from 1966, it holds up much better today than most of his work from the era.

Nelson Riddle did the arrangements, and as always, Riddle's work is interesting all on its own. Sinatra is in fine form, and his Moonlight Becomes You that opens the record is lovely (And why wasn't it released as a single?). All the songs have "moon" in the title, and while that sounds like a hokey idea (even in 1966), Sinatra and Riddle pull it off with aplomb. The whole record is good, the songs are consistently winners, and Frank's gives them his full attention, especially compared to some of his tossed-off work in the sixties. Moonlight Serenade, I Wished Upon The Moon, and Oh, You Crazy Moon are standouts, but the record is made to be played through, as opposed to being a vehicle for one or two singles. A lesser-known record that deserves renewed interest, it is a wonderful find in a used record shop. The fact that the only CD version is an import is some kind of crime.

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