On New Year’s Eve, I sent a message to our own Harry Currie, the world’s foremost Sinatra scholar and an incredible singer in his own right, requesting an almost impossible task, at least for him. It’s only that I’ve known him literally my whole life (plus a little begging) that he concurred. For Harry, compiling a Ten Best list of Sinatra recordings is akin to asking him ‘who’s your favourite kid?’.
His email reply was ‘…that’s a tough one - at times he was effervescent, at times introspective, and no one has ever touched him when he was at his best in both categories. I’ll do my best. No particular order.
Swing Easy and Songs for Young Lovers were the first recordings with his developed, mature voice, and Nelson Riddle. Come Fly with Me, with Billy May - Wow! Close to You was his most introspective and adventurous, with the Hollywood String Quartet. Point of No Return, his last Capitol LP, with Axel Stordahl as arranger. Listen to When the World Was Young. I listen, and it still moves me. The Capitol years were his very best, with a few during Reprise. The British album is a personal favourite because of arranger Robert Farnon — Bob sent me the chart of The Very Thought of You which I sang with the Kitchener — Waterloo Symphony Orchestra and Victoria Symphony, and I transcribed for Windjammers. Other albums are close, but I think these are my picks.
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