April 11, 2015

#72: Road trip!

If inertia's got a hold on you, Billy May's arrangement and Frank's jazzy delivery will at least get you moving in your chair. A trip to Nyack never sounded so good:

The song was written over the phone by Matt Dennis and Tom Adair in 1941 and recorded for the album Come Fly With Me in 1958. Adair wrote the words and is therefore the guy to thank for rhyming kayak with Nyack and powder with chowder. I love it.

#73: "A whole gang of love"

"I Wish You Love" started life as a French song with a completely different set of lyrics from the versions recorded by Keely Smith in 1957 and by Frank in 1964:

The song was composed by Leo Chauliac and Charles Trenet with words by Trenet. The second set of lyrics is the work of one Albert Beach, who takes us through the seasons with good wishes for his former love:

I wish you bluebirds in the spring
To give your heart a song to sing
And then a kiss but more than this
I wish you love
You may say that bluebirds are a little trite but they work for me, jazzed up as they are by Frank and company. But the summer image is my favorite:
And in July lemonade
To cool you in some leafy glade
Aaaaahhh. Thank you, Mr. Beach, whoever you are, for giving Sinatra those lines to sing.

Something tells me Frank wrote the last lines himself:
Hot damn! I wish you love
All kinds of love
A whole gang of love
The CD credits Quincy Jones with all the arrangements but Will Friedwald writes that Jones hired some extra help and Billy Byers arranged "I Wish You Love."

Here's Keely's take:

#74: In which Frank makes himself a pizza

"It's Nice To Go Trav'ling" was written by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen and arranged by Billy May for 1958's Come Fly With Me:

Bob Belvedere picked this for his #80 and commented:

Cahn and Van Heusen wrote this specially to be the last song on the Come Fly With Me album and it’s a nice touch after the whirlwind time we’ve just had going around the world, partying and romancing. Frank perfectly captures that feeling many of us get as we head home from vacation: ‘It’s very nice to go trav’ling but it’s oh, so nice to come home’.  I believe he also contributed the last set of lyrics which are spoken:

No more Customs…
Burn the passport…
No more packin’…
And unpackin’…
Light the home fires…
Get my slippers…
Make a pizza….
The domestic Sinatra. I'm not sure I believe in such a creature, at least not in 1958, but I love to picture him in the kitchen spreading the sauce and sprinkling on the cheese.

Mark Steyn has already covered three other songs from this CD, his #11, 18, and 20. So much Sinatra, so little time.

April 1, 2015

#75: A train song

This is kind of a humble little song written by Johnny Mercer and Jimmy Van Heusen in 1939 about a guy on a train thinking about the girl he's left behind. In 1956 Frank and Nelson applied their talents to it and created this jewel:

Go ahead and listen again. It grows on you.

When I started listening to Sinatra about 10 years ago most of the music was new to me, and all of it was new to my children. It was playing more or less non-stop in the kitchen and they responded by making wisecracks about the lyrics. After Franks asks, "And what did I do?"  they said things like, "I'm sure he's going to tell us," or "Probably the same thing he did the first fifty times we heard this." Ah, well. Youth is wasted on the the young and all that.

This is my third Johnny Mercer entry, fifth from Jimmy Van Heusen, and fourth track from SFSL. There will be many more to come from all three.

March 29, 2015

#76: Put on those Basie boots

 Here's the title song from Frank Sinatra and Billy May's relentlessly, irresistibly swinging Come Dance With Me (from which we've already listed two or three numbers, with more to come):

This part always makes me smile:

What an evening
Way to go, Sammy. That is bold songwriting. I love it.

(Were "Basie boots" a thing? Or just something that sounded good to Frank?)