This 17-track, 53-and-a-half-minute disc of air checks chronicles the first year of the Harry James band, when a 23-year-old Frank Sinatra was its featured male vocalist. Sinatra is heard on nine tracks, eight of which are also heard in their studio versions on Legacy/Columbia's The Complete Recordings, also released on CD in 1995, and thus make an interesting contrast. The title track, which was the biggest song James and Sinatra enjoyed (albeit not until years later), was even recorded on the same day (Aug. 31, 1939) in the studio for Columbia and at the World's Fair in Flushing, NY, for radio. The set includes one song, "Let's Disappear," and that James and Sinatra did not cut for Columbia. Sinatra sounds typically assured, and the arrangements lean more to the "hot" side of swing than those of Tommy Dorsey on which Sinatra would be featured from 1940 to 1942. Eight songs are James band instrumentals, including their theme, "Ciribirin," and such standards as "Avalon" and "Sweet Georgia Brown." Led by James's bravura playing, the orchestra is in fine form, belying their relative lack of success during this period.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann