To one generation Frank Sinatra was an academy award winning actor. To another he was a record label owner and recording star. In the two decades prior to his death he was a Vegas legend and American musical icon. But to the Bobby Soxer generation of the 1940’s he was what Elvis was to the 1950’s and the Beatles were to the 1960’s.
During the first half of the 20th century radio dominated home entertainment and it helped make Sinatra an enduring star. Now, Legacy Recordings has released a massive 4-CD box set containing 100 rare and previously unreleased performances from his radio years titled A Voice On Air: 1935-1955.
The tracks are presented chronologically beginning in 1935 with “Shine,“ recorded with the Hoboken Four, and ending in 1955 with tracks from The Frank Sinatra Show, including “Sam’s Song,” “Half As Lovely (Twice As True),” and “Our Love is Here To Stay & Put Your Dreams Away. “ In between are 96 more performances that trace the career and vocal development of on one of America’s most important musicians.
By my count there are 88 previously unreleased tracks, which is a lot of unheard Sinatra. Some highlights include “America The Beautiful” recorded right after D-Day, “You Are My Sunshine” with Gov. Jimmie Davis,” “Who’s Sorry Now,” “Don’t Marry That Girl,” “Exactly Like You” with the Nat King Cole Trio, “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” with Doris Day, and “You Brought A New Kind Of Love To Me” with Peggy Lee.
The recordings have been restored and remastered in high-resolution from the original radio transcription discs. Radio was not the best quality listening experience but now they have a crystal clear sound. Their transformation is amazing and a testament to modern day technology.
The accompanying 60 page booklet contains several informative essays, a personal remembrance from Nancy Sinatra, plus information and pictures. My only complaint is the size of some of the print, plus the fact there are pictures printed over some of them. It makes for very difficult reading and in some cases virtually impossible.
Frank Sinatra still has a huge fan base and this this new set fills in a lot of gaps in his career and music. A must for any aficionado of The Chairman Of The Board.