Softly, as I Leave You was Frank Sinatra's first tentative attempt to come to terms with the rock & roll revolution, even if it was hardly a rock & roll album. In fact, it wasn't much of an album to begin with. The highlight of the record was the hit title song, which featured a subdued but forceful and steady backbeat. The rhythm itself was indicative of Sinatra's effort to accept the new popular music. Arranged by Ernie Freeman, "Softly, as I Leave You," "Then Suddenly Love," and "Available" are definitely stabs at incorporating rock & roll into Sinatra's middle-of-the-road pop, featuring drum kits, backing vocals, and keyboards. As pop singles, they were well constructed and deservedly successful. The rest of the album is pieced together from leftovers from various early-'60s sessions, giving the record a decidedly uneven tone. Some of the songs work well as individual moments, particularly the Nelson Riddle-arranged "Emily," but the varying tone is too distracting to make the album a satisfying listen.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine