Calvin Coolidge’s Katrina. The left goes begging. Plus, Sinatra greatest hits and much more.
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I was never impressed with Sinatra’s hipster, swingin’, Jack-and-CocaCola aura and, to tell you the truth, I’m still not. To my young ears, Sinatra’s music sounded cold and emotionless — a crooner who would sing anything you’d put in front of him whether it meant anything to him or not as long as turned a dollar or two. In this sense, Sinatra is a lot like Bill Evans to jazz piano. One’s first impression of Bill Evans is that he is just another piano player anyone could find in any seedy bar in the rundown parts of town. Then one day, Evans beautiful introspective soul jumps out at you from between the notes and he never sounds mediocre ever again. In the same way, in a private moment one day, Sinatra breaks through and you’ll never hear him the same way again.
Over the past fifteen years, I have quietly brought most of Sinatra’s extant recordings. Often times, Sinatra recorded the same songs he recorded ten years before. Every time, there is something new and a shade underneath the previous record did not anticipate. Some like everything Sinatra: his recordings. TV specials, films, and the various written firsthand accounts by his friends and associates. With the exception of a few of Sinatra’s movies, I’d say we should just stick to his records.
To his friends, there were two Sinatras. The first person was what they called “Sinatra.” That cool, self confident and generous gentleman singer — a man for the women and a man’s man among alpha males. The second Sinatra was “Frank.” “Frank” had considerable overlap with “Sinatra”; but “Frank” was also a crass loudmouth. “Frank” had to have attitude—and not the good kind either.
Maybe his friends thought “Frank” was Frank Sinatra behind the scenes and seen by few. But “Frank” was the Frank Sinatra that clearly came through to me as a boy and then a young man. “Frank’s” loutish excommunication of rock and roll did nothing to help. Only when older did my image of Sinatra soften. It was not so much Sinatra’s music changed (indeed, how could it?); it was that I was older, been around the block a few times, and seen my share of disappointments and failures — my own and those of I grew up with… We always thought we would be better; but what we found out was that we were only human. There is no real point in comparing and contrasting the “art” of Frank Sinatra with that of Rock. It makes as little sense as publishing a monograph on the merits and demerits of jazz measured against Classical music. Country music compared to Jazz for that matter. Often times such contests are the kiss of death to the “better” music. If I am disappointed in rock music, it is because the music I still love so much from my past hasn’t continued to be created and carried on today. The Beatles, Cream, Traffic and Led Zeppelin are gone. (And what in the hell happened with the Stones?) I only feel sorrow that many of those rock musicians I enjoy so much are no longer with us. I don’t feel the same way on this anniversary of Sinatra’s death. If I was forced at the point of a gun to choose, I would not trade “Come Together,” “Gimmie Shelter,” “Sunshine of Your Love,” “Layla” and “Black Dog” for Sinatra’s enter catalogue. The beauty is you don’t have to.
For all his faults, Frank Sinatra was a great man and singer.
When he was on good behavior, Sinatra was warm, personal and
charming. But then there was that voice and that creative
musician. He was a professional in the very best sense of the
word. He was touchingly generous while hinting at our most
interior lives. At times, he could be sublime. What more could
you ask of anyone?
— Mike Dooley
Wonderful piece regarding Sinatra. I was born in ’58, and I am steeped in the rock and pop of the 60s and 70s. Much of the music I still love today, and I still find some great new rock music I enjoy very much.
I always respected Frank Sinatra, and loved some of his songs. The lyrics and melody of the haunting “Something Stupid” (sung with Daughter Nancy) stood out for me. Then a friend turned me on to “Sinatra at the Sands — 1966” and everything changed. The original elpee has been recast as a complete concert on CD. For those who are not aware, Mr. Sinatra sings with Count Basie and his orchestra, conducted by a then-upstart, young Quincey Jones. One of many highlights is Sinatra singing “One More For The Road” with Count Basie alone on piano. Beyond beautiful! Beyond genius.
Pop music, like rock music, shows brilliance only fleetingly.
Frank Sinatra showed musical brilliance his entire life and it
seemed easy for him. Perfectionism wasn’t something he seemed to
worry about. He just was, when singing, perfect.
— Jimmy Z
WHO IS JANET NAPOLITANO?
Re: Rachel Alexander’s Changing of the Guard:
We have but seen the tip of this iceburg; it will be Titanic in
— Ken Roberts
Is it any wonder that Mr. Obama is hiring incompetents? He’s
never had a real job, more than likely not had good
mentor/supervisor relationships unless his Grandmother filled
that role. He’s making the same mistakes all new supervisors make
in staffing by hiring people who are less bright than himself,
apparently fearful that they may be smarter or more capable than
himself. The MSM will not vet any of his appointments in any
meaningful way, and the U.S. will suffer domestically and
internationally because of it. I would place a sizeable wager
that most of the people who voted for this neophyte spent more
time interviewing their current babysitter than they did
researching Mr. Obama’s qualifications for the position he will
have in 3 weeks. We are in for a very rough patch.
— Greg Mercurio
Thank you, Rachel, for a concise and accurate summary of our
outgoing governor’s résumé. You hit all the high points of her
administration, and boy are we glad to be rid of it.
— Alan Waters
Think about it. What left wing loony is qualified to run Homeland Security? Yep. That’s correct, nary a one. The loonies are good at tearing down the institutions that made this country great. They hate the Christian religion; personal responsibility, initiative, freedoms, and most of all they hate America.
So who better to preside over America’s first nuclear attack? Ms. Napolitano will dither and ditz, make wonderfully resonant speeches and disassemble all the protections Homeland Security now provides.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?