I miss my PopPop every single day. He still means the world to me, and every man I've ever met has had a very tough time even coming close to measuring up. He persuaded my dreams and believed in every step I took, and I truly believe he still does from that big crazy Italiano dinner table in the sky. An entrepreneur, husband, father, and incredibly loving grandfather, Chicky Loffredo was the best. Period. The world lost him after a tough battle with cancer 10 years ago today, and it's been a little darker ever since. I miss and love you so much PopPop.
I thought I had heard every Frank Sinatra recording at this point, but Spotify had me stumble onto this little gem when I was picking out today's review album. I figured given the nature and memories, a duet album seemed appropriate.
So let's look at the tracks!
We kick things off with a swing duet with Peggy Lee, "You Brought A New Kind of Love To Me." This is truly a sweet, mood-setting song for a fun album.
Toe's a tapping, we move into the next number, "Let's Take An Old-Fashioned Walk," a duet with Dororthy Kirsten, who has one of the sweetest full-bodied voices I think I've ever heard. You just don't hear voices like this anymore! I also love the lasting concept of this song. Who just goes for a nice walk these days? Interesting to hear it treated the same way in those days as well - good to know this has always been "unheard of" but a real gem of a time. In fact, I liked this one so much, I'd like to share it with you guys right here and now, on a little side celebration of another singer (who's going to make an appearance later on this very album!), Miss Doris Day:
"Tea For Two" is a classic, but this version with Dinah Shore really slows things down to a much more romantic mood. This has always struck me as a cutesy song, but this version really takes a different turn for me. I could see this on a mix as a romantic gesture easily.
"This Can't Be Love" with Margaret Whiting peps things up a little bit, with the idea of not really being able to be in love, but knowing you are. This song reminds me that things were usually recorded in front of live audiences, and the energy you can feel on this track proves it. Songs also used to tell stories very well, as we see in our next track, "The Girl Next Door" with June Hutton. I like it because of the relatability, even in a different time period. A lasting concept for sure...
"Let's Get Away From It All" with Connie Haynes and Jo Stafford brings the tempo back up, with a witty instrumental intro to get the audience up and dancing. The voices even feel a little more dulled to me, which makes them more background music to enjoy your dance to. A very familiar WWII sound actually. Not as much personal connection with the listeners on this one.
Then we get our girl Dorothy Kirsten back, and for a classic "Some Enchanted Evening." Who can't help but fall in love with this song? Love at first sight in a song. Excuse me while I swoon a bit. Self-professed-hopeless-romantic here. "Make her your own, or all your life you'll dream alone."
Judy Garland makes her first appearance on this album next in "Gotta Be This Or That." This is another toe-tapper, very cute, and a good feel to it. Not one of my favorites, but I feel that way when songs sound far too much alike to others. There's humor in the last verse, and the audience shines in their laughter, which makes up for the boredom I'm kind of settling into on this one. :| So sorry Judy & Frank! (Side note - I laughed out loud as I typed this - my old babysitter's name was Judy, and her husband was Frank.)
Sorry Eileen Barton, but you're not helping this little lull I'm getting in the middle of the CD with "Together." Actually on this one, it make be her voice. Sounds like she has a cold a little. Still a cute number, as is the next one, "Make Believe," with Jane Powell. Frank's spoken intro takes me back to a time I wish I had lived in, and this really shows him off as the crooner we all want to remember him as.
Okay, the next track with Peggy Mann is probably, by default, my favorite. I can't find a video with Peggy in particular, but here's one with Lena Horne and Old Blue Eyes so you get the effect:
Lillian Raimondi comes in next with "Lover, Come Back To Me," which is not something I feel the need to hear more than once. Maybe I'm coming down off the high of the last number, or maybe I'm being lulled to sleep a little... but I just feel sad hearing this, and not in a good reflective way, just sad. Doris Day comes in on the next track though, and "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" has never been performed better. Woo! This is a swinger and so much fun.
Okay Judy, time for a redemption song. God I love her old time voice. I wish it were still marketable to sing like this. "My Romance" doesn't capture me much as a song, but again, I love their voices and the soothing feel they can produce with a single note. "No Can Do" with Lena Romay follows it up, and it's really an adorable song! I'm sure it was fantastic with a live audience and sort of as a comedy routine. Recorded? It's meh. Cute routine though, I'll give it that. Ready to move on.
Toni Harper has something incredibly familiar in her voice - almost sort of modern. It's so jarring to hear in this, but it works. Musical boundaries, in my own mind alone, are being crossed, and I'm liking it. Barbara Britton, in "The Anniversary Song" doesn't quite give me the same feeling, but I can see this being a nice occasion song for the obvious day. This has a very Godfather-Italian-esq feel though, which I can certainly appreciate given my upbringing. This is probably what they'd dance to the next year after that fantastical affair.
"The night is young and you're so beautiful..." starts off the next track with June Hutton, by the same name. Oh man, sexy song, watch out. No, seriously, this is an old-school number, but wow could this one set the mood. Just saying. God I hope my future husband reads my reviews at some point. June and Frank aren't done with us yet though - they follow that one up with "I Think Of You," which is a little less appealing, but I get it. Actually, ever seen 1776? There's some Adams' love affair in this one somewhere.
"Come Out, Wherever You Are," with Eileen Barton again, is another cute one. I think Frank must have given the audience some cute look in this, because the ladies have a nice scream in the middle. But then June Hutton comes back for "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To," which gives me the sultriness and Italian feel that just combine my favorite elements from my favorite songs on this album.
Okay, now we get Doris Day again and "There's No Business Like Show Business," which is just classical and fun and wonderful for ANYONE involved in the entertainment industry, though being a theatre nut helps me love it even more. Just purely classic showtune-ness.
Pearl Bailey closes out the album with Frank Sinatra for Parts I and II of "A Little Learnin' Is A Dang'rous Thing" which has a COMPLETELY different feel to it than the entire rest of the album! It's bluesy, soul-filled, and conversational. What a way to wrap things up. I loved this piece - I laughed, I understood, and I appreciated. This was a completely unexpected piece from Frankie, and I wish there was more of it.
Stuff I Wouldn't Mind Hearing Again:
- "Let's Take An Old-Fashioned Walk" - http://open.spotify.com/track/5m3QzhXiilzgdciauqd8rM
- "The Girl Next Door" - http://open.spotify.com/track/0AEq4gOUPNt023DHxqpitC
- "Embraceable You" - http://open.spotify.com/track/2KwGuB8QAl5baXnLJC70ZD
- "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" - http://open.spotify.com/track/2r1am6u6eCpgQrkiAzEdkI
- "The Night Is Young And You're So Beautiful" - http://open.spotify.com/track/2O1Ah8INh4XPfaioB9ZocA
- "There's No Business Like Show Business" - http://open.spotify.com/track/0fOhxYC7GERrjR3lwhlITv
- "A Little Learnin' Is A Dang'rous Thing (Pt. I)" - http://open.spotify.com/track/5sDelqds8a3jCjkYn312BD
- "A Little Learnin' Is A Dang'rous Thing (Pt. II)" - http://open.spotify.com/track/5zjm8Cil3m8BaFGjdll41k
Frankie shows me here that everyone does have hits and misses, and that's a timeless concept that can't be denied. Or avoided, apparently. But I did really enjoy these songs, many of which I had never heard before. You usually hear Frank Sinatra as a solo act, or with the Rat Pack, but not often enough with ladies (yes, I know, different time). I understand why, plus Nancy probably wouldn't have liked the sensualness of some of these numbers with him performing with other gals. ;)
I loved this though, and love that even now my PopPop is introducing me to new music and instilling such an appreciation for the best of the best. Thank you again PopPop. <3
What's some music that changed your life, thanks to another person? What music shaped who you are and why you do what you do today? Comment below, I'd love to share in the experience. :)