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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Frank Sinatra- Swing Easy and Songs for Young Lovers

Allright SINATRA!!!!!!! Can't get enough of this guy and while he sold a billion records they got play and there are a lot of considerations when buying Sinatra used LPs and trying to get that true first original pressing... For example from what I understand the system used by Capitol Records was such that in the deadwax you can see a stamp that at the end will have a number starting with either a "D" or an "N".. "D" means it was pressed in the West Coast where Capitol Records was based while "N" is not supposed to sound as good... Now the number following the letter tells you something - from what I can tell (this stuff is really discussed much better at the Steve Hoffman Music forum) - about the stampers used with the lowest number- presumably "1" being the original stampers.. Now in the case of this LP which really was a compilation of two separate 10 inch albums that had come out the previous year in 1954- "Songs for Young Lovers" which had kickstarted Sinatra's musical comeback and has been discussed elsewhere on this blog and its follow up "Swing Easy!" both produced by the great Nelson Riddle who was rewriting the book on production/arrangement- and came out in 1955 as catalog number W587 or only six issues behind Sinatra's first actual 12" original LP release which was "In the Wee Small Hours" at W581 (and had has from what I understand a concurrent release as two 10 inch lps and 4 45 eps).. Anyways, the original label is of course the gray label with circular gray line on the label framing the song titles and the word "Long Playing" below it.. Criteria met by this LP as pictured but here's where it gets a bit more interesting: 1) I had never seen a Capitol LP with the sticker (as pictured) on the opening reading "Sealed-In Quality" and on the back "Cut Here with Scissors" and "To Remove Seal, Peel Tape Carefully Start 'Peel'ing from Corner".. I'm not sure what this means? Was this a used copy? I don't believe labels where shrinkwrapping LPs at this time although they may have been bagging them..2) The record itself came in a rice paper sleeve which I believe was present only up to a point relatively soon after this when Capitol Records began using sleeves which would advertise either Capitol Records, other Capitol releases or both and 3) The stampers read "D1" on Side A - i.e., the first and earliest possible numbering and "D3" on Side 2... In other words I believe this copy dates from the initial release run about April 1955.. The label and record looked to be in near mint condition but unfortunately when played it turned out to have some surface noise but them's the breaks.. I don't think I need to say much about the quality of the music itself.. This is about as good as it gets from "I get a kick out of you" perhaps the first Sinatra song I fell in love with- on an 1980s cd reissue of this which proved my introduction to Frank Sinatra- to stone cold classics such as "get Happy" , "All of Me"... I note the presence of many songs that had been also performed by Billie Holiday (i.e., "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter", "My Funny Valentine", "Violets for Your Furs) both before and after Sinatra's version... While it was more common for Sinatra to perform songs that Billie Holiday has first performed its also true, for example on "Violet for your furs" which Billie Holiday performed on what was by her own account her favorite album- the string laden Lady In Satin the final album released in her lifetime- that Billie Holiday as was the case for Dexter Gordon was listening to Frank least I think so..$10

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The seal they were talking about was most likely the sealed transparent plastic sleeve around the actual vinyl LP. I think most of the early LP's were sealed this way and they continued to seal them this way for some promos which came from the 60's. I have a mono copy of the Rolling Stones 'Out of Our Heads' LP still sealed in the original bag from 1966.

As far as looking for the best pressed versions of your favorite LP's the earliest pressings would be the DJ and Promo copies sent out initially to radio stations, music reviewers and to be used as giveaways by stores and radio stations.

You can be assured that when the vinyl was pressed for DJ and Promo pressings that the stampers were still fresh at the beginning of their life cycle.

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