Eight examples of the state of the crooning art on four 78 records in a hefty cardboard casing, now that’s an album. Indeed, one of the first to be so conceived. Sinatra had been doing his lovelorn, vulnerable, sexy thing to the delight of the US’ young female population for a few years by 1946, but it was here that everyone else started admitting the kid (he was 30) could sing. A warm, full tone, a gently subversive way with a phrase and an unmatched sense of full-hearted longing. Swoonatra is right.
Good as Frank is, however, this remains aspic pop. The Axel Stordahl arrangements?with string quartet and discreet rhythm section?may not be quite as ’40s-bound as his fuller work of the period, and Frank is a shade or two groovier than on his bel canto sides, but compared to what he would achieve in the ’50s, this is juvenilia from Squaresville. Of the eight songs, three (“Why Shouldn’t I”?Cole Porter having a shocker?”I Don’t Know Why” and “Paradise”) are corny rubbish and were rightly consigned to the ’40s dumper. “You Go To My Head”, “Someone To Watch Over Me”, “Try A Little Tenderness”, “These Foolish Things” and “A Ghost Of A Chance” were all improved on in the next decade when the arrangers were hipper and Sinatra was older, wiser and realer.
Still, your Connicks could do worse than to listen again to this era of The Voice to hear what that ring-a-ding Sinatra they’re so in thrall to was built on. Sound but unshowy technique, deep sensitivity for a lyric and refined musicality. He may have got deeper, but he was never sweeter.