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Sinatra Reprise Disc 4
Disc Four / Cassette Four

1. There Used To Be A Ballpark
J. Raposo (Sergeant Music Co./Jonico Music, Inc., admin. by WB Music Corp. ASCAP)
June 22, 1973 Los Angeles
Arranger: Gordon Jenkins

After a lengthy and irritating "retirement," Sinatra began to record again in the summer of 1973, creating an album to be called Ol' Blue Eyes Is Back for a Monday, October 1st
release. At the fourth of the five sessions it took (actually, there were six sessions, if the first tentative stab - the masters were destroyed - of April 29 is included), Sinatra addressed a new song by Joe Raposo, a skillful pianist-arranger-songwriter in the New York area. Joe, the author of "Bein' Green," had been methodically feeding Sinatra new material during the winter and spring of 1972-3. "Ballpark" struck Sinatra as metaphoric and substantial, an absolute original, and it became one of the five Raposo songs that Sinatra recorded by way of re-introduction.

2. What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?
M. LeGrand, A. Bergman, M. Bergman (United Artist Music Co., Inc. ASCAP)
May 21, 1974 Los Angeles
Arranger: Don Costa

Much like "Drinking Again," the song had been out there, only better known (one of the best of the Bergman/LeGrand collaborations), and there were those who knew that it was just a matter of time.

The time came on May 21,1974.

3. Just As Though You Were Here (Previously Unreleased)
E. DeLange, J. B. Brooks (Music Sales Corp./Scarsdale Music Corp. ASCAP)
September 24, 1974 Los Angeles
Arranger: Gordon Jenkins

"Just As Though You Were Here," from the unreleased session of September 24,1974, turns out to be a treasure of treasures, a deeply felt rendering of a very dark tune, the vocal filled with longing and regret. A not-to-be-missed Sinatra moment.

4. The Lady Is A Tramp

R. Rodgers, L. Hart (Chappell & Co. ASCAP)
October 13, 1974 New York City
Arranger: Billy Byers

An exciting live version from the televised Madison Square Garden "Main Event" with a swinging (and at the time) new arrangement by Billy Byers.

5. Empty Tables
J. Mercer, J. Van Heusen (Mercer Music/Sergeant Music Co./Van Heusen Music Corp., admin. by WB Music Corp. ASCAP)
February 5, 1976 Los Angeles
Bill Miller, piano

6. Send In The Clowns
S. Sondheim (Revelation Music Publishing Corp./Rilting Music Inc. ASCAP)
February 5, 1976 Los Angeles
Bill Miller, piano

"Empty Tables," Johnny Mercer's last lyric, with Sinatra very much in mind. A boozy Van Heusen melody, a drinking song, and Sinatra's second record of it, and one of the two piano-only Sinatra records made in a recording studio. The other, "Send In The Clowns," was done at the same session, with Bill Miller repeating as pianist. Sinatra begins by speaking (a first and only) and tells us what he thinks the song is about. He then continues conversationally to identify Stephen Sondheim as author, before finally getting to the song itself. When he does, he deals quiet injury to his previously released conservative recording of the tune, delivering an almost scary reading of fury and despair. He'd been singing "Send In The Clowns" in concert for three years, and by the time this memorable recording session (February 5, 1976) rolled around, he and "Send In The Clowns" had come to an agreement.

7. I Love My Wife
C. Coleman, M. Stewart (Notable Music Co., Inc., admin. by WB Music Corp. ASCAP)
November 12, 1976 Los Angeles
Arranger: Nelson Riddle

A sexy waltz, a tribute to Barbara Sinatra, though the song was actually written by Cy Coleman and Michael Stewart for a Broadway show called I Love My Wife. At the time of its release, Sinatra's concert  performance of it elicited warm laughter from understanding audiences. He slowed it down and acted it out and gave it a whiff of charming dignity that had absolutely nothing to do with any part of himself previously exhibited.

8. Nancy (Previously Unreleased)
P. Silvers, J. Van Heusen (Barton Music Corp. ASCAP)
March 9, 1977 Los Angeles
Arranger: Nelson Riddle

9. Emily (Previously Unreleased)
J. Mandel, J. Mercer (Miller Music Corp. ASCAP)
March 9, 1977 Los Angeles
Arranger: Nelson Riddle

10. Sweet Lorraine (Previously Unreleased)
M. Parish, C. Burwell (Mills Music Inc./Everbright Music Co. ASCAP)
March 14, 1977 Los Angeles
Arranger: Nelson Riddle

Late in the summer of 1976, Frank Sinatra invited me to dinner in Palm Springs. After dinner in a restaurant we went back to his house (it is called The Compound). While showing me through his sophisticated kitchen he told me that he wanted to make "a three-record set album of lady songs. Get it?" he said, touching my arm with his index finger. "Their names in the titles." I got it, and began thinking Stella and Nina and Diane and Marie. And Nelson. "I hope you use Riddle," I said as we closed the kitchen door.

"He's got the sense of humor for it." "Oh, yeah, it's Nels," Sinatra said, forcefully.

It turned out to be Nels, in March of the next year. But after only two sessions the project was aborted, leaving a handful of titles in a vault. That handful is released now: "'Nancy," "Emily," and, of course, "Sweet Lorraine," the last real Sinatra-Riddle swinger.

11. My Shining Hour
J. Mercer, H. Arlen (Harwin Music Co. ASCAP)
September 17, 1979 Los Angeles
Arranger: Billy May

12. More Than You Know

B. Rose, E. Eliscu, V. Youmans (WB Music Corp. ASCAP)
September 17, 1979 Los Angeles
Arranger: Billy May

13. The Song Is You
O. Hammerstein II, J. Kern (T.B. Harms Company ASCAP)
September 18, 1979 Los Angeles
Arranger: Billy May

14. Theme from New York, New York

F. Ebb, J. Kander (United Artists BMI)
September 19, 1979 Los Angeles
Arranger: Don Costa

15. Something
G. Harrison (Harrisongs Ltd. BMI)
December 3, 1979 Los Angeles
Arranger: Nelson Riddle

On December 15, 1978, a youngish Wall Street Journal reporter named David McClintick published what could only be called an editorial in that paper urging Frank Sinatra to make records. The singer had fallen silent for a bit, and McClintick, who later wrote a best-selling book about Hollywood and Wall Street, Indecent Exposure, was frustrated by the lack of new Sinatra material. That night in the desert, Sinatra, dining out with fifteen or so companions, produced copies of McClintick's piece, and commented, as he did in a subsequent note to the journalist, that he felt really understood by the writer, that the writer was right on target about his music. McClintick had asked: what was a fellow to do in the face of all that contemporary stuff out there? Simple. He was Sinatra. There were dozens of great songs he hadn't recorded. It was time to do them.

Only a few months later, Sinatra was at it. Producer Sonny Burke, and longtime Sinatra friend, had suggested something called Trilogy. That is, songs from the past, songs from today, and a musical essay by Gordon Jenkins dealing with the future. A three-record set that went all the way to the finish line, providing McClintick, and all the rest of us, with Sinatra records of standards he'd never recorded, like "My Shining Hour," and "More Than You Know," and a new version of "The Song Is You," and a song that Sinatra now calls "the anthem," "New York, New York." McClintick's gentle nudge got everything started.

Sinatra hired him to write the liner notes for Trilogy that won McClintick a Grammy.

George Harrison's "Something" got around after its release on the Beatles album Abbey Road. It wound up on Sinatra's desk and he recorded it with a somewhat disappointing arrangement by the late Lennie Hayton just before Sinatra's spangled retirement. And that, we thought, was the end of that.

But no, back on the road again in the 1970's, "Something" showed up as a Sinatra staple. He sang it wherever he went, extolling its virtue as "one of the greatest love songs ever written," or frequently – the greatest love song ever written." Gone was the Lennie Hayton chart, and in its place a haunting new Nelson Riddle arrangement that dug deeply into the song and made Sinatra's hyperbolic affection for it at least palatable. The Sinatra-ization of "Something," "You stick around, Jack, it might show,"has irritated rock & roll purists and his identification of Lennon/McCartney as writers went uncorrected for years.

But still, when the second recording was made for Trilogy, Sinatra found the very center of the material and issued a performance that many believe is one of his finest.

16. The Gal That Got Away/It Never Entered My Mind
H. Arlen, I. Gershwin (Harwin Music Co. ASCAP) / R. Rodgers, L. Hart (Chappell & Co. ASCAP)
April 8, 1981 Los Angeles
Arranger: Nelson Riddle

17. A Long Night
A. Wilder, L. McGlohon (Ludlow Music, Inc./Saloon Songs Inc. BMI)
July 20, 1981 Los Angeles
Arranger: Gordon Jenkins

It was a matter of getting it down on record. Sinatra had been performing this medley a long time, and knew it inside and out. Two great standards thrown irrevocably together, with a masterful Nelson Riddle arrangement, recorded, finally, for a torch album called She Shot Me Down. Alec Wilder's "A Long Night," also on the album, takes the pain of "One For My Baby" all the way to the bottom of the glass. I treasure this album above all other Reprise works for the courage of its new material, and the diligence and craft of its commander. A long friendship was revitalized by Sinatra's inclusion of two new songs by Alec Wilder whose great ballad "I'll Be Around" was one of the highlights of the famous Wee Small Hours album.

18. Here's To The Band

S. Howe, A. Nittoli, A. Schroeck (Saloon Songs Inc., admin by Warner-Tamerlane Pub. Corp/Al Galico Music/Algee Music Corp. BMI)
January 25, 1983 New York City
Arranger: Joe Parnello

Not available now on anything but a 45, "Here's To The Band" salutes musicians everywhere.

The arrangement by the late musician Joe Parnello gives Sinatra a shouting shot at a really high last note late in his game.

19. It's Sunday
J. Styne, S. Burkenhead (Saloon Songs, Inc./Unichappell Music BMI/Sergeant Music/Producer's Music ASCAP)
January 25, 1983 Los Angeles
Tony Mottola, guitar

The "B" side of "Here's To The Band," and the only Sinatra record ever made with just a guitar. Jule Styne wrote the wandering, lovely melody, and a woman named Susan Burkenhead added the intimate lyric. Sinatra's almost conversational reading is accompanied by Tony Mottola.

20. Mack The Knife
K. Weill, M. Blitzstein (Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, admin. by WB Music Corp. ASCAP)
April 16, 1984 New York City
Vocal re-take: October 30, 1986
Arranger: Frank Foster

"Wait till you hear what we're doin' with 'Mack The Knife,'" Sinatra told a friend a week or so before he recorded it. "We're goin' to blow 'em away."

Well, sort of.

And the concert version was (is) thrilling. But Sinatra, knowing he hadn't nailed the tune on his record of April 16, 1984, overdubbed another vocal on October 30, 1986, after singing it for two years. That new vocal has never been heard until now. You might want to compare the two, the first, of course, on Frank Sinatra's last released album, L.A. Is My Lady.

Jonathan Schwartz

Palm Springs, California • August, 1990

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