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COLLECTIONS & GREATEST HITS I
THE TOMMY DORSEY YEARS


NOTE: Over the years there have been countless collections released of Sinatra's recordings.  Some labels have been very careful about how they repackage these collections, while others have shovelled them out like so much waste product.  Sinatra's earliest recordings have passed into public domain, so that many independent labels have been able to put out poorly-remastered, cheap product onto the market.  Here is a guide to the best collections available for those who are wanting a taste of Sinatra in their collections.


Frank Sinatra/Tommy Dorsey: Platinum & Gold Collection
RCA [CD];
Released August 19, 2003


 
1. Stardust
2. Night And Day
3. This Love Of Mine
4. There Are Such Things
5. The Song Is You
6. Oh! Look At Me Now         
7. Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear To Tread)         
8. I'll Never Smile Again         
9. Violets For Your Furs         
10. Everything Happens To Me         
11. Blue Skies         
12. I'll Be Seeing You

REVIEW:  RCA has been one of the biggest culprits of flooding the market with literally scores of Sinatra product from his Dorsey years.  I'm not sure what the rationale for their decision is, on my part, it appears as if the sheer variety of product would overwhelm the buyer - how do you know which one to buy?  If you want it all, the choice is easy - the five-CD box of The Song Is You - but if you're just investigating, it can be a maddening choice.  My general rule is: for the Dorsey years, stick with RCA - they own the master tapes and generally you're going to get good sound (especially on the more recent collections) and at least a modicum of documentation.  Unfortunately, there are lots of hucksters out there who've put out their own "budget" collection of these recordings, so buyer beware.  If you're not fond of the Dorsey years in Sinatra's repetoire, yet feel like you need a little, this mid-priced collection is for you. It contains all the biggest hits that Dorsey and Sinatra had together, including the singles "Night And Day," "The Song Is You," "I'll Never Smile Again," and more, all in clear remastered sound.  It's just a taste of their massive output, but for many it will be plenty.  Sinatra was never smoother, and Dorsey's orchestra is like butter.


 

Bluebird's Best: Voice Of The Century
RCA 63928 [CD];
Released May 21, 2002


 
1. Star Dust
2. Night And Day
3. The One I Love (Belongs To Somebody Else)
4. This Love Of Mine
5. There Are Such Things
6. The Song Is You
7. Oh! Look At Me Now
8. Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear To Tread)
9. Say It
10. I'll Never Smile Again
11. Violets For Your Furs
12. Everything Happens To Me
13. Blue Skies
14. I'll Be Seeing You

REVIEW:  Released just a year before the disc above, and nearly identical in both track selection and sound, RCA has no good reason to keep shovelling discs out like this except for the sole purpose of filling America's landfills.  Not that it's a bad disc, but as you can see by comparing the two - what's the point?  A couple of more tracks ("The One I Love...," "Say It") but otherwise identical (with the exception of the uglier cover illustration - it looks like it was painted by a high-school student.)  I really can't recommend one above the other - although this one is on the Bluebird label - it's just a subsidiary of RCA, so apparently one of the smaller companies is wanting a piece of the action.  Still, that being said, it's another fine single-disc collection of the Sinatra/Dorsey years, boiled down into a nice, bite-size portion for the masses.  Mid-priced, and certainly a worthwhile purchase for those who want a little bit of the Dorsey years in their Sinatra collection.


 

Falling In Love With Frank Sinatra & Tommy Dorsey
RCA 63621 [CD];
Released January 11, 2000


 
1. This Love of Mine
2. Street of Dreams
3. Too Romantic
4. I Could Make You Care
5. Stardust
6. Night and Day
7. It's Always You
8. I'll Never Smile Again
9. Two in Love
10. Fable of the Rose
11. You're Breaking My Heart All over Again
12. Say It
13. It Started All over Again
14. I'll Never Let a Day Pass By
15. Violets for Your Furs
16. Polka Dots and Moonbeams

REVIEW:  I like this collection, because unlike the others which just throw together tracks and call it the "best," this one has a theme that's perfect for setting a mood.  And although many of Sinatra & Dorsey's biggest hit singles are here, ("Stardust," "Night And Day," "I'll Never Smile Again," "Violets For Your Furs," and "Polka Dots And Moonbeams") there is also a generous selection of less well-known tracks, all selected to enhance the theme of romance and love.  So you'll find tracks from the lushly sentimental ("This Love Of Mine," It's Always You," "Say It") to the somewhat overwrought ("Fable Of The Rose") to the slightly goofy ("Polka Dots And Moonbeams") but none of which will jolt lovers out of a reverie of gazing deeply into each other's eyes.  Sure it's a gimmick - I mean most of Sinatra's songs during this period were romantically themed - it's what he was hired to do: push the love songs and make the girls swoon, but the CD sets up a fine, smooth atmosphere and doesn't let up for a second, making this an idea gift for sweethearts or a mood-setter on Valentine's Day.


 

The Popular Frank Sinatra Volumes 1-3 (January 27, 1998 - June 15, 1999)  RCA 63285 [Box], 68711 [Vol.1], 68712 [Vol.2], 63286 [Vol.3] [CD]


  

 

  

 

1. Polka Dots and Moonbeams
2. Say It
3. Imagination
4. I'll Never Smile Again
5. All This and Heaven Too
6. Fools Rush In
7. One I Love (Belongs to Somebody Else)
8. Call of the Canyon
9. Love Lies
10. Trade Winds
11. I Could Make You Care
12. Our Love Affair
13. We Three (My Echo, My Shadow and Me)
14. Stardust
15. Look at Me Now
16. You Might Have Belonged to Another
17. Dolores
18. I Tried
19. Do I Worry?
20. Everything Happens to Me

1. This Love of Mine
2. You and I
3. I Guess I'll Have to Dream the Rest
4. Two in Love
5. Sinner Kissed an Angel
6. How About You?
7. I Think of You
8. Last Call for Love
9. Just as Though You Were Here
10. Street of Dreams
11. Take Me
12. Be Careful, It's My Heart
13. I'll Take Tallulah
14. Light a Candle in the Chapel
15. Daybreak
16. There Are Such Things
17. It Started All over Again
18. Let's Get Away from It All
19. In the Blue of the Evening
20. It's Always You
21. I'll Be Seeing You

1. Sky Fell Down
2. Too Romantic
3. This Is the Beginning of the End
4. Devil May Care
5. April Played the Fiddle
6. East of the Sun (And West of the Moon)
7. Whispering
8. Looking for Yesterday
9. Tell Me at Midnight
10. Shadows on the Sand
11. You're Breaking My Heart All over Again
12. You Lucky People, You
13. Without a Song
14. Blue Skies
15. Violets for Your Furs
16. Poor You
17. Night We Called It a Day
18. Lamplighter's Serenade
19. Song Is You
20. Night and Day

REVIEW:  A curious, but worthwhile set for those who are wanting to dig a little deeper into the Sinatra-Dorsey years, but not yet ready to spring for the whole box set.  Released shortly after the The Song Is You box, and available both seperately and as individual discs, The Popular Frank Sinatra series boils down the overwhelming amount of material of the box set into the very best.  With a generous helping of tracks on each CD, and sound that equals that of the box set, it's a great collection for fans who want more than the skimmings, but less than the full meal (you know who you are).  Arranged chronologically, the discs hit one highlight after another, with Sinatra growing steadily from "the boy-singer" to "the main event" with his short solos growing longer and more prominent, and Dorsey's presence diminishing until at the end it's clear that Sinatra has to jump to bigger pastures.  All of Dorsey & Sinatra's best cuts are here, and there's plenty: from the sweetly sentimental "Polka Dots..." to the larger-than-life "Night And Day," from the moodiness of "Everything Happens To Me" to the rare piousness of "Light A Candle In The Chapel."   This is probably all of the Dorsey years a listener will need, and will suffice most fans.  The only thing missing from this set are good notes for each disc, and that's a problem.  Unfortunately, this set is being slowly phased out, and only volume one is still readily available.  Volumes two and three can still be found as used items. 


Various Compilations

All-Time Greatest Hits Vol. 1 (October 25, 1990) RCA 8324 [CD]

There's no good reason for this 20-track disc to still be in print (along with the following two) since the sound is poor compared to the recent remasters, and there's nothing unique for collectors.
 

All-Time Greatest Hits Vol. 2 (October 25, 1990) RCA 8554 [CD]

A generous 20-tracks, but again the sound is poor compared with more recent remasters - this album should really be put out to pasture.
 

All-Time Greatest Hits Vol. 3 (October 25, 1990) RCA 9679 [CD]

More of the same, with another 20-track collection which should have been deleted from the catalog once the new remastered editions were released.
 

Greatest Hits (April 16, 1996) RCA 68487 [CD]

A good overall single disc collection, with better sound, most of the hit songs you know, but only 15 tracks - there are better compilations for this era.
 

The Fabulous Frank Sinatra & Tommy Dorsey (October 12, 1999) RCA 63556 [CD]

Good sound, classy packaging and an unusual track selection make it a little different that the run-of-the-mill sets that RCA puts out. Not just the hits in the 15 tracks.
 

The Legendary Tracks (November 5, 2002) Collectables 9634 [CD]

Budget label Collectables dips their foot in with this (literally) cheap, ten-selection dime-store CD.
 

Love Songs (January 28, 1997) RCA 68701 [CD]

Slightly different track listing than the Falling In Love... CD above (which begs the question - why have two CD's of love songs by Sinatra & Dorsey with only slightly different track listings on the same label?)  Just as valid and enjoyable.
 

Stardust (February 11, 1992) RCA 61073 [CD]

Poor sound mars this substandard, skimpy collection of 11-tracks with an unimaginative song selection.  RCA ought to be ashamed to still have this on the market.
 

I'll Be Seeing You (August 30, 1994) RCA 66427 [CD]

This official sampler from the 5-disc box set is OK, but for a sampler, it doesn't have much to offer in it's short running time (only twelve tracks included), but the song selection is interesting - the most unique for a single disc out there.
 

There Are Such Things (March 19, 1996) ASV Living Era

A 23-track collection with very good sound and a varied song selection which should fit the bill for most fans wanting a single disc collection.  Available only as an import from the UK.
 

Night And Day (February 24, 2004) Import (Sweden)

A 3-CD, 42 track box set which covers most of the bases, but nothing in the way of notes or rarities.  Good collection for the price, though.
 

Together (February 22, 1996) EPM Musique 157142 [CD]

A mish-mash of songs both featuring Sinatra, with some tracks just Dorsey solo. Good sound, and a long running time with 21 tracks. Not essential unless you have to have everything. 


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