August 5, 2015

#40: And the bell goes . . .

If you haven't heard it yet, give yourself a treat and listen to Mark Steyn's Sammy Cahn podcast now. Part two starts off strong with this:

For sheer exhilaration that's pretty hard to top, no? My favorite line might be --

Don't know if it's morning, night time, winter or spring
What's the difference?
How perfectly Frank tosses that off.

Will Friedwald calls "Ring-a-Ding Ding" "an almost perfect piece of manufactured Sinatriana" (p 418) and that it is. Frank wanted to kick off his new label with a bang and commissioned Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen to write a song using the Rat Pack catch phrase. (Mind you, you don't have to be a Rat Pack enthusiast to love the song or the LP.) As he does with every track on the album, Frank sings this one like he means it, but with a jazzy, elegant insouciance that makes RDD one of my two or three favorite Sinatra LPs. Johnny Mandel's fabulous, jazzy arrangements surely have something to do with that.

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