This European compilation is notable for combining recordings Frank Sinatra made between 1940 and 1942 for RCA Victor Records, most of them as a vocalist in Tommy Dorsey's orchestra, with solo recordings made for Columbia Records in 1943 and 1944. In the U.S., record company restrictions would preclude such a collection, but presumably copyright limits have been exceeded elsewhere, as Conifer Records has mastered this disc from records contributed by compiler Hugh Palmer and others, then spiffed up the sound with the CEDAR process. The result is still hissy in places and isn't anywhere near as aurally impressive as recent RCA Victor and Columbia compilations, however. Palmer has included a couple of the major Dorsey/Sinatra hits ("I'll Never Smile Again," "Dolores") and one of the bigger early solo hits ("Saturday Night [Is the Loneliest Night of the Week]"), but has used his critical judgment otherwise, which may not sit well with some listeners. It's hard to argue with choices such as the title song (an early solo performance while Sinatra was still with Dorsey) or the sensitive reading of "I Fall in Love Too Easily," but other choices are less defensible. Also, the separation of Sinatra's Dorsey and early solo recordings actually makes artistic sense, since the Dorsey recordings tend to be horn-filled big-band performances on which the singer gets a chorus, while the string-dominated solo work of course showcases the singer, so that combining both types of recordings on one disc is odd. Nevertheless, with its 76-minute running time, thorough annotations, and coherent sequencing, this album is a cut above the general run of out-of-copyright compilations streaming in from Europe.
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