This 20-song collection is a major addition to the Sinatra and Tommy Dorsey discographies. If most of the songs here aren't too familiar (apart from Irving Berlin's "Take Care, It's My Heart"), it's because most of them were submitted to Dorsey by amateur songwriters, part of a radio show gimmick. The result is a group of songs from Sinatra's and Dorsey's repertories that are largely unknown, in live broadcast renditions (mostly from the Astor Hotel in New York), heard for the first time since those early '40s broadcasts. Just as startling is the quality of the sound; they've been carefully digitized, with a sound that's not only clean and sharp, but astonishingly close and warm. These live broadcasts show just how tight the Dorsey band was and how their reputation was built: there are good four-piece rock bands that couldn't achieve the kind of tension and precision that these players did. The ensemble playing alone is worth hearing. "I've Got a Restless Spell" is a great showcase for the trumpets and trombones, while "Sunrise Over Taxco" presents the reeds in exquisite form. As for Sinatra, he is in fine voice throughout, if a bit restrained on one number ("I Saw Your Face") where Connie Haines and the Pied Pipers take most of the singing chores; he already had the confidence that would propel him to stardom within months of these performances. "That's How It Goes," "Sunrise of Taxco," and "You Really Fill the Bill," all from 1940, show off his amazingly rich intonation, and even on material that is less than first rate, such as "My Memoirs" and "My First Edition," he always leaves the listener wanting more. Also present is Sinatra's first performance of "Oh! Look at Me Now," which he kept in his repertory and recorded officially for Capitol 16 years or so later.
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AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder