Your Hit Parade was a popular radio program that began in 1935 on which a group of singers sang the most popular songs of the week, counting down to #1. Frank Sinatra spent two stints as a regular performer on the show, first from February 1943 (just after he had begun his solo career) to December 1944, and again from September 1947 to May 1949. This LP presents ten airchecks said to be from those performances, though some actually derive from other shows on which the singer appeared. The good news for Sinatra fans is that Sinatra sang many songs on the show that he never formally recorded; in fact, nine of the songs here are ones for which no Sinatra studio recording exists. (The exception is "My Shining Hour," presented here in an early 1944 rendition, which Sinatra finally cut for his 1980 album Trilogy: Past, Present, Future). The bad news is that there are often reasons why Sinatra didn't record the songs; especially in his second go-round on Your Hit Parade, he was heard to complain about the material he was asked to sing. Happily, this brief collection features some standards that are welcome additions to the Sinatra repertoire, notably "I'm in the Mood for Love" (which is actually drawn from the Songs by Sinatra show, not Your Hit Parade) and "Long Ago and Far Away" (actually from the Vimms Vitamins Show). There are also some second-rate songs, however, as well as songs that are not right for Sinatra; he seems particularly uncomfortable with "Pistol Packing Mama," probably recorded in 1943, even though you can hear his bobbysoxer fans screaming in the background. For the most part, this is an album for Sinatra completists.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann