In 1943, Sinatra made his first Manhattan nightclub appearance, sang for the first time at The Hollywood Bowl, and recorded the first of his many records with Columbia. This collection of 22 songs spans his early solo career, from 1943-46.
Axel Stordahl and his Orchestra accompany Sinatra for most of the cuts, and the vibe is lush and laid-back--more "romantic" than the lightly elegant, swinging sound of the Dorsey years (1940-42). The Bobby Tucker Singers back Frank on five cuts (due to 1943's musicians' strike).
Highlights are the haunting "You'll Never Walk Alone," Gershwin's "Someone To Watch Over Me," and "Stormy Weather" (which hints at Frank's suave, world-weariness-to-come). "Full Moon and Empty Arms" and "The Girl That I Marry" are not musically exceptional--but they effectively convey that era.