Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The MJ Show #137 - Sinatra Sings Gershwin

I've always said that Sinatra sounded best when he was younger. His work with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and his solo albums in his Columbia Records days...were absolutely incredible!
I remember picking up a whole bunch of albums in the Sony Music and Universal Music sales that happened in Mumbai and I think I found this rare gem in one of those sales. I tried looking it up on youtube and realized that no one had put it I thought that I MUST do so.
This is an album you MUST listen and hopefully go and buy. If you're a Sinatra NEED this album! :)

I was looking for a photo of tha album on and I came across this fantastic write up about the cd written by someone called "Mark Blackburn". I just had to share it with you. Read it. He writes beautifully about the album and the last few tracks on the album.
This is excerpt from his complete review of the album.

On a CD that runs a satisfying 50 minutes almost half the songs (the final seven tracks, and the highlight of the disc) comprise a 'Tribute to George Gershwin' radio show from 56 years ago: This recently-uncovered treasure hasn't been heard publicly since the night of its broadcast -- June 4, 1947. These are direct-to-digital transfers from the original disc recordings; and on some of these tracks the pristine sound is actually cleaner than subsequent reel-to-reel recordings (with inherent tape hiss) from the early 1950s. The performances themselves are superb; but if you're like me, then prepare to be emotionally undone by the "live-in-studio" radio broadcast, comprising the second half of this CD.

The radio show is titled "Songs by Sinatra." And after a snippet of the show's regular theme music -- with Sinatra singing the opening bars of one of his signature tunes "Night and Day" -- the singer launches into his heartfelt tribute to composer George Gershwin. Sinatra first praises orchestra conductor Axel Stordahl "for preparing 30 minutes of fine arrangements" -- then alerts his radio audience to the special treats in store: "Janie Powell just flew in (to New York) from set 17 at MGM to sing 'Summertime' AND the celebrated Pied Pipers have a few diminished ninths they'd like to slip into your loudspeaker . . . AND we've brought over a fine mixed chorus, headed by Ken Lane . . . so relax and enjoy the immortal music of George Gershwin."

Sinatra immediately launches into one of the composer's lesser-known songs -- "Soon" -- then, in his own words, smoothly segues through an off-the-cuff, witty introduction to "Embraceable You" -- which he dedicates as a "seventh birthday" tribute to daughter Nancy ("Happy Birthday sweetie!"). This gorgeous version includes a seldom-heard alternate lyric for the song's opening stanza for which the composer's lyricist brother Ira incorporated endearingly quaint old English -- and a fresh rhyme for "Embraceable."

. . . my silk & laceable you . . .
I'm in love with you, I am
And VERILY so . . .
But you're much too shy --
Unnecessarily so!"

A wrenchingly beautiful "Porgy & Bess" medley (8:36 in length) follows, with Jane Powell's exquisite, voice interpreting "Summertime." Some rousing applause -- and periodic delighted squeals -- from the studio audience precedes "There's a Boat Dat's Leavin' Soon for New York." Sinatra recalls "the street cries of Gershwin's 'Catfish Row'" (as the orchestra alludes to "Strawberry Woman"/"Crab Man") and then Sinatra & Powell, orchestra & chorus resolve the Porgy & Bess segment, with an amazing duet of "Bess, You Is My Woman."

There's still three more tracks to go in this remarkable Gershwin tribute: What follows is a show-stopping take of "Someone to Watch Over Me." The sheer beauty and emotional delicacy of this offering is (almost) enough to make you forget Sinatra's later, masterful (and with better-recorded orchestra) 'Capitol Years' interpretation of what some consider the most poignant love song of all time.

The final musical gem of this half-hour tribute show is "Love Walked In" -- which Sinatra alone performs, after reminding listeners this was "one of the last songs Gershwin wrote." To bring down the curtain, we hear a snippet of "Rhapsody in Blue" before Sinatra's personal reflections on the enduring greatness of his musical hero. (A verbatim transcript is included here, just to entice kindred spirits craving the rare sound of 'The Voice' in his own words.) 

Okay then...enough writing and talking. Let's get to it.
Here it is...uploaded by me for you...exclusively for The MJ Show :)

1. Somebody Loves Me

2. I've Got A Crush On You

3. Embraceable You

4. Someone To Watch Over Me

5. Oh Bess, Where Is My Bess?

6. Porgy And Bess Medley 01: Summertime/I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'/Summertime

7. It Ain't Necessarily So

8. S'Wonderful

9. A Foggy Day

10. I've Got A Crush On You

11. Night And Day

12. Soon

13. Embraceable You

14. Porgy And Bess Medley 02: Summertime/There's A Boat That's Leaving Soon For New York/Street Cries/Bess You Is My Woman Now

15. Someone To Watch Over Me

16. Love Walked In

17. Show Closing

Right is now time for me to say good night and take care! :)
This is your Musicman...Mihir Joshi...signing off!

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