Frank Sinatra

Francis Albert Sinatra Does His Thing

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Francis Albert Sinatra Does His Thing was a television special filmed in 1968. The DVD version is essential to Sinatra fans for the rare performance of a diverse set list and also to those pop archivists who enjoy reflecting on music's deeper meaning and social significance. The show starts off a bit rusty with Sinatra strolling the stage singing "Hello Young Lovers" in a near-catatonic manner. It seems like a standard TV performance and does not suggest that there will be much energy for this, his fourth special. But at the end of the song, Sinatra runs over to conductor Don Costa and gives him a huge hug while the song's outro is still being performed! Something special is going on and Frank expects to have a good time. There are some amazing non-musical moments in this special when Sinatra addresses the changes in American political, social, and cultural times. He gives a nod to the youth movement for participation in politics, etc., but is clearly moved when discussing the civil rights movement. He then introduces Diahann Carroll, with whom he expressly shares the stage as a sign of racial harmony. Carroll proceeds to sing "(It's The) Music That Makes Me Dance" and "Where Am I Going" before being joined by Frank for a medley of "Diane/Deep River/Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child/Lonesome Road/Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen/Amen." Sinatra is for once a little out of his element in singing these songs -- more spiritual than his usual standards -- while also seeming more progressive than most observers gave him credit for. Francis Albert Sinatra Does His Thing is not a variety show by any means, but Frank sings the great moody medley of "Glad to Be Unhappy/Here's That Rainy Day/It Never Entered My Mind/Gone With the Wind" while on a set of a lonely motel. The highlight of the show is Sinatra's introduction of the band the Fifth Dimension, who he also has invited to participate in his special. The vocal group performs its songs "It's a Great Life" and (amazingly) "Stoned Soul Picnic" before inviting the "Sixth Dimension" (Frank dressed in an amazing Liberace-inspired ruffled shirt!) to join them for "Sweet Blindness." One of the unexpected Sinatra songs from the show is "Baubles, Bangles and Beads," which seems particularly appropriate to the 1960s. Overall, Francis Albert Sinatra Does His Thing is a highly enjoyable DVD filled with unexpected song choices, offering some truly fascinating glimpses into the landscape of the late '60s.