Written by General Jabbo
Nine years after the double-platinum Classic Sinatra, Capitol/EMI is following up that popular release with Classic Sinatra II. The CD covers Sinatra’s Capitol years of 1954-1961 — considered among his best by most fans — and features 21 tracks, including the previously unreleased “This Can’t Be Love.”
Sinatra’s Capitol years were so strong that one could take virtually any 20 tracks and put together a great compilation, but Classic Sinatra II offers a nice overview of the period with songs from 15 of Frank’s classic concept albums. The CD leads off with the up-tempo “Something’s Gotta Give” from Come Dance With Me!, a frantic song from one of Frank’s most swinging albums.
Four songs are included from Songs For Swingin’ Lovers, including “Too Marvelous For Words,” “I Thought About You,” “Pennies from Heaven,” and “Love is Here to Stay.” Sinatra’s albums have often been poorly mastered onto CD, with unnecessary compression or too much echo added. That is not the case here as these songs in particular sound as good as they ever have in the CD format thanks to the fine mastering by Dave McEowen.
Other Sinatra favorites included are “Love and Marriage,” which many fans will remember as the theme song for Married…With Children, and “High Hopes,” a single which Sinatra later reworked to be the campaign song for John Kennedy’s presidential bid. ”Moonlight in Vermont” is in mono and sounds fantastic. The original mix of Come Fly With Me,the album it comes from, has never been issued on CD, so perhaps this is a sign of good things to come. The last song before the bonus track is “Angel Eyes,” from Sinatra’s legendary ballads album, Only the Lonely. Sinatra was at his best with this kind of material and it is a fitting way to end the CD.
Long-time collectors will have these songs — save for the excellent bonus track — but not in this quality unless they own clean copies of the original vinyl. For that reason alone, Classic Sinatra II is worth owning. The CD also serves as a nice companion piece for fans who already own Classic Sinatra; and helps give a nice overview of some of Sinatra’s best years.