A Voice In Time (1939-1952)

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
A smart, thoughtfully assembled four-CD collection, A Voice in Time charts the early development of Francis Albert Sinatra -- the standard by which all other classic American pop vocalists are measured. His journey to board chairmanship is charted from his first recordings with the Harry James Band in 1939 through his Victor years with Tommy Dorsey and finally during his extraordinary Columbia years, when he was teamed primarily with conductor/arranger Alex Stordahl and fashioned an extraordinary body of work that, amazingly, got even better when he moved to Capitol in 1953. The titles of the four discs pretty much tell the story: Disc 1, "The Big Band Years: 1939-1942,"...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
A smart, thoughtfully assembled four-CD collection, A Voice in Time charts the early development of Francis Albert Sinatra -- the standard by which all other classic American pop vocalists are measured. His journey to board chairmanship is charted from his first recordings with the Harry James Band in 1939 through his Victor years with Tommy Dorsey and finally during his extraordinary Columbia years, when he was teamed primarily with conductor/arranger Alex Stordahl and fashioned an extraordinary body of work that, amazingly, got even better when he moved to Capitol in 1953. The titles of the four discs pretty much tell the story: Disc 1, "The Big Band Years: 1939-1942," featured a young, even tentative Sinatra fronting James's and Dorsey's bands. The young voice is smooth and plaintive, but Sinatra sings with an emotional distance that would disappear when he started his solo career with Columbia and became, in the words of Disc 2's title, "Teen Idol: 1943-1952." Which is not to suggest Disc 1 is lesser Sinatra: His readings of "If I Didn't Care," "I'll Be Seeing You," the jaunty Irving Berlin gem "Blue Skies," and Cole Porter's "Night and Day" are strictly first-rank swooning material. Once into Disc 2, and on to Disc 3 ("The Great American Songbook," which starts with "All of Me" and goes on to collect work penned largely for film and Broadway by giants on the order of Carmichael, Arlen, Mercer, Berlin, Porter, the Gershwins, Kern, Hammerstein, et al.) and Disc 4 ("The Sound of Things to Come"), Sinatra increasingly asserts his personality on the lyrics; his phrasing becomes at once more precise and more rhythmically acute, and his emotional involvement in the material achieves a depth of feeling and nuance rarely approached by any other recording artist, ever. In Stordahl he had a studio alter ego who could challenge his artistry with both big, brassy arrangements ("When You're Smiling") and lush, heart-wrenching, string-driven charts ("Hello, Young Lovers," which drew a performance from Sinatra that is breathtakingly restrained and composed, as sung by a character whose broken heart hasn't killed his yearning for or memory of love; the impossibly winsome romantic testimony "We Kiss in a Shadow"; and the soaring, tender billet doux "My Girl" -- sequenced in a jaw-dropping trifecta on Disc 4). At the end of the time frame covered by this set, Sinatra was only three years away from his epic concept album for Capitol, The Wee Small Hours, but in the years charted on these discs, Ol' Blue Eyes wrote the book on 20th-century classic pop vocalizing. Historians and lovers alike can luxuriate in the treasures herein and get to the rest in due course.
All Music Guide - Bruce Eder
This four-CD set is a first in Frank Sinatra's Columbia Records discography: a box set that encompasses his Columbia solo sides with his work for Tommy Dorsey and Harry James, plus live broadcast sides up through 1952. It may also perplex some potential purchasers, especially those who already have the 12-CD Sony/Legacy Columbia Years set -- which was supposed to be the last word on Sinatra's early career -- although that massive collection is certainly still worth owning. But the truth is that in some respects, A Voice in Time: 1939-1952 gives a wider ranging -- if not actually fuller -- account of the singer's early career, differently nuanced and arranged, and going into areas that the complete Columbia set couldn't reach. The corporate linkup between Sony/Legacy and RCA/BMG allows the label access to the recordings that Sinatra made with Tommy Dorsey's band, which have never before been compiled with the Columbia material, and thanks to a policy shift at Sony, the label also now has access to broadcast performances that were never part of his Columbia library. And by starting this set in 1939, when Sinatra's recording career effectively began as a member of Harry James' band, they're able to legitimately draw on the sides that he cut with James for Brunswick. The interweaving of the studio sides and broadcast airchecks, in particular, makes this set a compelling experience, juxtaposing the carefully crafted perfection of Sinatra's studio sides with the live, spontaneous radio performances (most of which took place in front of his fervid and highly expressive female fans of the period). What's more, the producers have brought this whole end of Sinatra's catalog up to a quality level matching -- as much as possible -- that of his sides from the more familiar Capitol and Reprise libraries. The set has been broken down into four major groupings. Disc one is titled The Big Band Years 1939-1942, and covers his years with James and Dorsey, though the early solo recording of "The Song Is You," from 1942, is also presented, as it overlaps with the Dorsey years. The material has been chosen to encompass the milestones of the singer's early career, with an eye toward the solo work that followed, which the second disc, entitled Teen Idol 1943-1952, dives into head first. This is where the broadcast performances play a significant role, not only in terms of the mostly movie-related songs that he never got to record officially, but also in the instance of "You'll Never Know." The latter, in its familiar form, was cut in the midst of the Musicians' Union recording ban and had to be done with only vocal accompaniment -- here it is, from a broadcast, with the kind of full-band accompaniment it was expected to have. Seven of the tracks are previously officially unissued radio broadcast airchecks -- the producers have done an excellent job of correcting the source defects and other anomalies, so they're a close match in quality for the proper official recordings. The third disc, The Great American Songbook 1943-1947, is comprised of the most familiar material here -- with only four broadcasts, of "There Will Never Be Another You," "As Time Goes By," "It Had to Be You," and "I Get a Kick Out of You." This is a side of Sinatra's output that has been amply explored elsewhere, and with the exceptions of those tracks, the only special quality of the material here is the crisp mastering. The Sound of Things to Come 1949-1952 is a valiant -- and mostly successful -- effort to distill the best of the singer's final couple of years' work with Columbia; it's been done to some extent up to now on CDs such as Swing and Dance with Frank Sinatra, but the 20 songs here, the Columbia material augmented by one aircheck ("Why Try to Change Me Now"), is a fuller account of this phase of his career. The state-of-the-art remastering has the contents of this set -- mostly recorded and preserved on metal parts and transcription discs rather than magnetic tape, which didn't come into use until Sinatra's final three years at Columbia -- sounding fresher and richer than one might ever think possible, even based on the quality of the earlier Columbia box. A Voice in Time: 1939-1952 features two small hardcover books, one containing the four CDs and the other giving the discography and sources, along with accompanying essays for each volume, plus an array of hundreds of black-and-white photos from the period interspersed throughout the text. As nice as those are to look at, and as fine as much of the text is -- especially Will Friedwald's and Charles L. Granata's essays, on The Big Band Years and The Sound of Things to Come volumes, respectively -- it's the listening quality that's the point here, and there's not a complaint to be had in that department. Indeed, it's something of a rejuvenating experience for the listener, getting to hear all of these vintage sides in this kind of glowing sonic luster.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/25/2007
  • Label: Sony
  • UPC: 886970966924
  • Catalog Number: 709669
  • Sales rank: 72,726

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 All or Nothing at All - Harry James & His Orchestra (2:58)
  2. 2 From the Bottom of My Heart - Harry James & His Orchestra (3:08)
  3. 3 If I Didn't Care - Harry James & His Orchestra (3:30)
  4. 4 Moon Love - Harry James & His Orchestra (2:59)
  5. 5 East of the Sun (And West of the Moon) - Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra (3:19)
  6. 6 I'll Be Seeing You - Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra (3:04)
  7. 7 Say It - Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra (3:25)
  8. 8 Blue Skies - Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra (3:16)
  9. 9 I'll Never Smile Again - Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra (3:11)
  10. 10 Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear to Tread) - Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra (3:13)
  11. 11 This Love of Mine - Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra (3:43)
  12. 12 Oh, Look at Me Now! - Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra (3:17)
  13. 13 Just as Though You Were Here - Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra (3:14)
  14. 14 How About You? - Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra (2:55)
  15. 15 Imagination - Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra (3:15)
  16. 16 Frenesi - Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra (3:37)
  17. 17 Blue Moon - Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra (3:41)
  18. 18 Be Careful, It's My Heart - Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra (2:47)
  19. 19 The Song Is You - Axel Stordahl & His Orchestra (3:22)
  20. 20 Night and Day - Axel Stordahl (3:02)
Disc 2
  1. 1 No Love, No Nothin' (2:54)
  2. 2 Saturday Night (Is the Loneliest Night in the Week) (2:44)
  3. 3 Oh! What It Seemed to Be (2:52)
  4. 4 You'll Never Know - David Broekman & The Treasury Song Parade Orchesta (3:23)
  5. 5 I've Got a Crush on You (3:18)
  6. 6 The Brooklyn Bridge (2:37)
  7. 7 Five Minutes More (2:45)
  8. 8 (It Seems to Me) I've Heard That Song Before (3:02)
  9. 9 The Trolley Song (3:07)
  10. 10 Time After Time - Four Hits And A Miss (3:10)
  11. 11 Dream (When You're Feeling Blue) - Ken Lane Singers (3:03)
  12. 12 I Fall in Love Too Easily (3:17)
  13. 13 She's Funny That Way (3:21)
  14. 14 It's Been a Long, Long Time (3:01)
  15. 15 Dancing in the Dark - Bobby Tucker Singers (4:04)
  16. 16 I've Got You Under My Skin/Easy to Love (4:06)
  17. 17 Nancy (With the Laughing Face) (3:14)
  18. 18 Lover Come Back to Me (3:58)
  19. 19 Put Your Dreams Away (For Another Day) (3:10)
  20. 20 Again - Johnny Green & His Orchestra (2:09)
Disc 3
  1. 1 All of Me (2:41)
  2. 2 Sweet Lorraine (3:09)
  3. 3 Body and Soul (3:20)
  4. 4 All the Things You Are - Ken Lane Singers (3:03)
  5. 5 Embraceable You (2:54)
  6. 6 These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You) (3:09)
  7. 7 Stormy Weather - Ken Lane Singers (4:15)
  8. 8 Begin the Beguine (3:55)
  9. 9 There Will Never Be Another You - David Broekman & The Treasury Song Parade Orchesta (2:14)
  10. 10 As Time Goes By - David Broekman & The Treasury Song Parade Orchesta (2:33)
  11. 11 The Nearness of You (2:43)
  12. 12 Stella by Starlight (3:21)
  13. 13 I Get a Kick out of You - Vimms Vocalists (3:58)
  14. 14 That Old Black Magic (2:33)
  15. 15 One for My Baby (And One More for the Road) (3:06)
  16. 16 It Had to Be You (2:31)
  17. 17 What'll I Do? (3:06)
  18. 18 Laura (3:19)
  19. 19 September Song (3:07)
  20. 20 Ol' Man River (4:00)
Disc 4
  1. 1 The Birth of the Blues (3:28)
  2. 2 April in Paris - The Whippoorwills (2:44)
  3. 3 American Beauty Rose (2:36)
  4. 4 Lover (2:41)
  5. 5 The Continental (2:33)
  6. 6 Should I (Reveal) (2:25)
  7. 7 When You're Smiling (The Whole World Smiles with You) [From Meet Danny (2:31)
  8. 8 It All Depends on You (3:25)
  9. 9 Bye Bye Baby (2:39)
  10. 10 I Could Write a Book (2:44)
  11. 11 Autumn in New York (3:17)
  12. 12 If Only She'd Looked My Way (2:50)
  13. 13 Hello, Young Lovers (3:34)
  14. 14 We Kiss in a Shadow (3:37)
  15. 15 My Girl (2:26)
  16. 16 Love Me (3:10)
  17. 17 Farewell, Farewell to Love - Harry James & His Orchestra (2:55)
  18. 18 Walking in the Sunshine (2:43)
  19. 19 Why Try to Change Me Now (2:49)
  20. 20 I'm a Fool to Want You (2:56)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Frank Sinatra Primary Artist, Vocals
The Pied Pipers Guest Appearance
Will Bradley Trombone
Bobby Hackett Trumpet, Guest Appearance
Mitch Miller Conductor
Connie Haines Guest Appearance
George Siravo Conductor
Harry Sosnik Conductor
Axel Stordahl Conductor
The Whippoorwills Guest Appearance
Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra Guest Appearance
Mark Warnow Conductor
The Ray Charles Singers Guest Appearance
Jeff Alexander Choir Guest Appearance
Ken Lane Singers Guest Appearance
Four Hits And A Miss Guest Appearance
Vimms Vocalists Guest Appearance
David Broekman Guest Appearance
Bobby Tucker Singers Guest Appearance
Technical Credits
Ray Conniff Arranger
Percy Faith Arranger
Arthur Baker Arranger
Sy Oliver Arranger
Harold Arlen Composer
Mitch Miller Arranger
Nancy Sinatra Liner Notes
George Siravo Arranger
Jerome Kern Composer
Buddy DeSylva Composer
Didier C. Deutsch Liner Notes
Will Friedwald Liner Notes
Oscar Hammerstein II Composer
E.Y. "Yip" Harburg Composer
Johnny Mercer Composer
David Raksin Composer
Axel Stordahl Arranger
Fred Stulce Arranger
Paul Weston Arranger
Mark Wilder Mastering
Henry Beau Arranger
Howard Fritzson Art Direction
Charles Granata Liner Notes
William Gottlieb Memorabilia
Clifford R. Burwell Composer
S.K. Russell Composer
A. Domínguez Composer
Jeremy Holiday Package Manager
Joel Herron Composer
Morty Berk Composer
Maria Triana Mastering
Maria P. Marulanda Art Direction
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Awful sound quality

    Yes, I should have played the samples. I quickly bought this, and just hate the sound quality. The remastering does hardly anything. A lot of this is from old records. There are so many better recordings of Sinatra, like the Reprise recordings in stereo. This collection is going in my recycle bin.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    INCREDIBLE!!

    I have idolized Sinatra since I was seven years old. That's darn near 50 years. This compilation is nothing short of incredible. Some of the recordings I have never heard before! I can't thank the family enough for putting it together for us to enjoy. And in such a gorgeous package with a beautiful book. If you love Sinatra even half as much as I do, you MUST have this. I can't say enough good things about it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I didn't care for this

    There are a lot of songs from the 1940's, when recording equipment wasn't all that good. He sounds muffled on a lot of songs because of the recording equipment. I prefer to listen to Sinatra in the 1950's, when the recording equipment made his voice sound clear. I also think the songs he did in the 1950's had better arrangements and lyrics. Frank's "Classic Sinatra" CD is better than any of this, as is Frank's "80th: All the best." People who want to get into Sinatra's music may not want to hear him anymore if they hear his voice muffled.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2009

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews