January 23, 2015

#94: Sinatra and Basie swing a classic

It's "Pennies From Heaven" written in 1936 by Johnny Burke (words) and Arthur Johnston (music). This version was arranged by Neal Hefti and recorded by Frank and Count Basie and co in 1962.



Since this is supposed to be a list of favorite recordings rather than favorite songs, I was forced to choose between this Basie version and the earlier Nelson Riddle arrangement from the wonderful Songs for Swingin' Lovers. The latter is a kinder, gentler version, but swingin' for sure, just not in that muscular Basie band style. Either one will do very well, depending on your mood.

January 21, 2015

#95: A little treat from Rodgers and Hart

"Falling In Love With Love," music by Richard Rodgers and words by Lorenz Hart, was recorded by Frank with Billy May's dandy arrangement in 1961. Sinatra gets the most out of those internal rhymes -- much, such, trust, just:



Brief though it is, this song has staying power. I've had it in my head for weeks on end. Once my daughter-in-law, not a young woman overly interested in show tunes, heard me humming it and recognized the song. It seems she knew it from the 1997 Disney movie Cinderella with Whitney Houston and Bernadette Peters. That's when the song migrated from the old Rogers and Hart musical it was written for, The Boys from Syracuse (based on The Comedy of Errors) to the less old (1957) Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Cinderella, written for television. (The 1965 TV version with Leslie Ann Warren is the one I remember from my own childhood.) Here's Bernadette Peters doing the number in the movie.

Bob Belvedere's Sinatra 100

I'm so pleased to see that my virtual pal Bob Belvedere at The Camp of the Saints is doing a Sinatra 100 list, too. His choices so far:

#100: It's A Wonderful World
Great song! One of those upbeat numbers that just makes you feel good. It's not on my list but given another ten, twenty, or fifty slots, it would be. The competition is wicked, and the list of recordings that fell off the bottom constitutes a pretty impressive body of work.

#99: I'm Beginning To See The Light
I love this song and -- spoiler alert -- it's going to come up later on my list, so I'll reserve comment.

#98: Let Me Try Again -- not even on my radar but very nice. I'm guess I'll have to take a look at that Ol' Blue Eyes album.

Bob says he's going to post his Sinatra stuff every Friday. I'll link to all of it in the sidebars as I'm doing with Mark Steyn's list and my own. It'll be a Sinatra feast. Enjoy!

January 19, 2015

Steyn's #4: After You've Gone

Oh yes:



I love this song! See Steyn for the deep and fascinating background on the song and Frank's recording of it. One of the great things about Mark's Song of the Week feature is the connections he makes that you never knew were there. Today's oh-my-gosh moment was his mention of Freddy Cannon's "Way Down Yonder in New Orleans," a bit of detritus from my childhood that I hadn't thought of in I don't know how many decades. My older sister almost certainly had that 45. But I digress. Go read and then come back here for more videos.

I'm unable to embed this one, but here's Suzy Bogguss and Chet Atkins with their sweet take.

And sorry about the dizzy camera work and poor sound quality, but you might enjoy this take by Hot Club of Cowtown's Elana James, Whit Smith, and Jake Erwin as they join Frank Vignola, Vinny Raniolo, and one other guy whose name I don't know. I think that audience got their money's worth:



I can't believe I blew a chance to see Frank and Vinny live, but husband and I have seen Hot Club of Cowtown a couple of times and they're terrific. Two favorites from their latest CD: The Continental and I'm In The Mood For Love.

January 16, 2015

#96, from the Sinatra "Come Cry With Me" collection

I usually go for the up-tempo, swingier numbers (I'm shallow that way), so be warned that the slower, sadder songs will be under-represented on my list. But this one's a keeper: "I Could Have Told You"



Words by Carl Sigman (of "Marshmallow World" fame), music by Jimmy Van Heusen. Arranged by Nelson Riddle and recorded as a single in 1953. It was later added to the No One Cares CD.

Bonus: Here's a fabulous, jazzed-up version by the unlikely but wonderful duo of Eva Cassidy and Chuck Brown.