Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Ol' Blue Eyes @99 cents

Friend & music journalist Rob O'Connor relayed the word today that Amazon is selling the entire 22 song Nothing But the Best Frank Sinatra collection for 99 cents. It won't replace the complete classic Capitol albums In the Wee Small Hours, or Songs for Swingin' Lovers!- the collection is from the Reprise years.  but I didn't have most of the 22 songs. I jumped on it. The remastering isn't consistently good - anyone remember "analog?" - but at the incredible price I ain't complaining. Yeah, I doubt I'll listen to "Somethin' Stupid" or "Strangers in the Night" or "My Way," & I get enough of "New York, New York" whenever I catch the end of a Yankees game. "The Way You Look Tonight" is alone worth the 99 cents.

 Frank Sinatra was one of the few musical artists I couldn't openly like as a teenager, & pretty much didn't despite his string of Sixties hits (only one, "Summer Wind," I really liked anyway). Nancy was fine, sometimes better than fine. But The Rat Pack, difficult as it is to believe now, was radically uncool in mid-Sixties teen culture. Neither of my parents liked Sinatra. Mom was by her own admission a silk stocking girl, not a bobbysoxer.  She was married when Frank went Cafe Society. Dad detested Sinatra, as he did many worthy artists & kinds of music. But he was a bit before Frank's time & so far as I could tell wasn't even a fan of quality popular 30's big bands like Goodman & Basie. You didn't look to Dad for hip.   He liked American operetta,  Victor Herbert & Sigmund Romberg, specialties of a nearby regional professional theater, Papermill Playhouse. I figure his commendable taste for Kurt Weill was quite unintentional.

Everyone in my house liked some kind of music. Actually, there's no  precedent for me in my family. The oddballness, sure.   But the musical why? of it has no explanation. Reclaiming the lost, unappreciated & weird has always been a mission. But what  credibility I have comes from being grounded in what could be called "The Classic Recordings" of a number of major & minor genres. I didn't get that growing up - except rock & roll, although I didn't know it at the time.   & I'm still willing to learn, even if  age has somewhat diminished my curiosity  & patience.

Well, being born in Vegas and having spent a lot of summers there in the 60's led me to enjoy the "rat pack." I knew Sammy personally, (he'd have fun with kids pulling out his fake eye) as well as Dino (in fact, I attended Dean's daughter's wedding in the late 1960's - she was a Baha'i, and my aunt presided over the ceremony at the Martin residence, which was on Coldwater Canyon, back in the day). And, of course, my uncle Sid played drums for a time for Sinatra in the 1950's. Ah, the memories!
You had an exceptional musical upbringing, inside the business. I was aware of the 500 Club in Atlantic City when I stayed with my grandmother, Dino & Sammy still played there, with Frank usually making a surprise appearance at some point during the summer. But that scene was totally closed to me. It might as well have been on the moon.
I once caught a Bobby Rydell show on The Steel Pier because I had an hour to waste until the next Diving Horse appearance. My mom made me come home from A.C. one day before The Beatles played Convention Hall. That was my kind of experience.
I know I had an inside track into show business, but growing up, I didn't know that. It just was, what it was. Seriously, it was not until I was in my 20's that I realized that my upbringing was not what everyone else experienced. When other kids were constantly being yelled at by their parents to "turn down the damn music," in my family, we were constantly blowing out the speakers for playing the music so loud!!!!!!
The only other person I know who grew up "inside" - but in New York - had similar experiences to your's. The difference is, you could pass a WFMU DJ audition. He didn't (although I'd put him on). He knows tons about music, but he;s just not wacky enough. People can't see you. That gives the radio host a very big advantage.
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