To pick out a couple of favorites from this set is not really an easy task - because the whole concert is great. But for the sake of illustration I will mention that Frank’s version of “Old Man River” is pretty noteworthy, as is his version of “Bewitched.”
What was actually quite surprising to me was the fact that “America The Beautiful” was left off of the original LP. We have heard countless artists attempt this song, and it is almost like a hymn. And, unfortunately or not, the song is so familiar that one wonders what any singer can actually add to it.
There is something about hearing that amazing, one-of-a kind voice of Frank Sinatra singing this song that delivers an element that I had never really noticed before. He makes you feel the sentiments. No matter what the song, he put his absolute heart and soul into it - and you certainly hear this in “America, The Beautiful.”
Besides the original liner notes, written by Raymond V. Pepe, there are some fascinating new comments made by Frank Sinatra Jr. His insights into his father’s music are both compelling, and quite illuminating. Although at first glance, The Concert Sinatra may seem like “just” another Frank Sinatra reissue, it is much more. For one thing, hearing him in a live context - with no room for error is pretty great. But knowing his history, and reading the liner notes of his son about each track make this package something truly special.
I have made it quite clear that I am a Frank Sinatra fan, but I think The Concert Sinatra will appeal to a much wider base of people than just us fans. It is my contention that he was at the top of his game in 1963, and was paired with the greatest collaborator he ever had with Nelson Riddle.
In short, The Concert Sinatra represents some of the finest music either of these men ever produced. It is available through a number of sources, including the very fine Concord Music Group - whose site is worth checking out for this, and many other great Sinatra recordings.