Sinatra / Capitol: The "Finian's Rainbow" Recordings

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Bob F, Oct 11, 2013.

  1. Bob F

    Bob F Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Over in the thread, Sinatra / Capitol Sound Quality: Singles, Soundtracks, Etc., we've been discussing Frank Sinatra's non-"concept album" recordings—primarily singles—from his Capitol Records catalog (1953–1961). Matt Lutthans has created a website which analyzes and compares the many different releases of these, in an attempt to identify the best-sounding sources from the varied and bewildering array of issues. Matt's website begins here: Non-Album Tracks, 1953.

    As we tackle these recordings on a year-by-year, session-by-session, and track-by-track basis, I've been supplementing the discussion with a series of narrative posts about the historical song and session details. At this point in time, we've reached nearly the end of 1954, Sinatra's second year with Capitol.

    Along with Capitol studio sessions in late 1954, Frank recorded a number of songs which were intended for use in a then current film project—a cartoon version of the 1947 Broadway musical Finian's Rainbow—designed and directed by animator John Hubley. Besides Sinatra, the musical soundtrack was to include Ella Logan (Scottish singing star of the original hit show), plus jazz greats such as Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and Oscar Peterson, among others. Unfortunately, the project was never completed, and the finished music went unreleased officially for 48 years.

    Because neither singles nor an album were produced, and there has been only one release of the Sinatra film recordings (i.e., there's nothing to compare with), these songs don't fit very well into the other (singles) discussion. Thus, I've started this separate thread. I hope SH forum members will find it of interest...
     
  2. Bob F

    Bob F Forum Resident Thread Starter

    These are the Sinatra recording sessions for which details are available. All music was composed by Burton Lane, with lyrics by E. Y. "Yip" Harburg...
    __________________

    Saturday, November 20, 1954

    On this afternoon, Frank Sinatra recorded two songs for the soundtrack of the Placid Productions animated cartoon, Finian's Rainbow. From 2:30 to 5:30 P.M., on the Goldwyn Studios soundstage, FS joined forces with two monumental duet partners and a jazz trio conducted by Lyn Murray:
    • Ad Lib Blues - with Louis Armstrong
    • Necessity - with Ella Fitzgerald
    This would be the only time Sinatra ever made a studio recording with either of the two giants of jazz. On "Ad Lib Blues" Frank and Satchmo perform an improvisational "scat" together. "Necessity" is a vocal duet by Frank and Ella.

    Additional soundstage prerecordings for Finian's Rainbow would take place in the next several weeks—December 2 and 9–11, 1954. (FS would also record a solo vocal version of "Necessity," as well as a short "scat" passage, at one of the later sessions.)

    Musicians (3): Howard Roberts (guitar); Phil Stephens (bass); Frank Flynn (drums).
    __________________

    Thursday, December 2, 1954

    On this date, Frank Sinatra joined singer Ella Logan, reprising her 1947 Broadway role, for another soundtrack recording session for the animated cartoon version of Finian's Rainbow. The singers were accompanied by an all-star jazz quintet including the great pianist Oscar Peterson. This session would mark Sinatra's only recorded collaboration with Peterson. On the Goldwyn Studios soundstage from 2:00 to 5:45 P.M., conducted by Lyn Murray:
    • Old Devil Moon - with Ella Logan
    The amazing eight-minute track begins with a portion of FS singing behind a full orchestra (undocumented on this session) which sounds nearly identical to the Nelson Riddle arrangement he would record more than a year later for the 1956 Capitol album, Songs For Swingin' Lovers!. This leads into an extended jazz improvisation by the quintet, followed by Ella Logan's singing part and duet with Frank. There is also a brief reprise track with FS backed by Oscar Peterson's solo chords.

    Musicians (5): The Jazz All-Stars: Red Norvo (vibes); Herb Ellis (guitar); Oscar Peterson (piano); Ray Brown (bass); Frank Flynn (drums).
    __________________

    Thursday, December 9, 1954

    On this date, FS recorded another song for the soundtrack of the Placid Productions animated cartoon, Finian's Rainbow. On the Goldwyn Studios soundstage, from 1:00 to 4:00 P.M.:
    • If This Isn't Love - with Children's Chorus
    The arrangement was by Albert Sendry, with the large orchestra and (undocumented) children's chorus conducted by Lyn Murray.

    Musicians (36): Ray Linn, Cecil Read, Pete Candoli (trumpet); Milt Bernhart, Albert Anderson, Elmer Smithers (trombone); Martin Ruderman, Sylvia Ruderman, Henry Woempner (flute); Arnold Koblentz, Gordon Schoneberg (oboe); Mitchell Lurie, Phil Sobel (clarinet); Fred Moritz (bassoon); Victor Arno, Robert Barene, Anatol Kaminsky, William Miller, Israel Baker, Harry Solloway, Marshall Moss, Adrian Holland, Sidney Lippman, Maurice Koukel, Erica Keen, Victor Bay (violin); Louis Kievman, Armand Roth (viola); Armand Kaproff, Ray Kramer (cello); Dorothy Remsen (harp); Bill Miller (piano); Howard Roberts (guitar); Phil Stephens (bass); Frank Flynn, Lee Perrin (percussion).
    __________________

    Friday, December 10, 1954

    On this date, FS returned to Goldwyn Studios for another Finian's Rainbow soundstage session. From 1:00 to 4:00 P.M., with a 36-piece orchestra conducted by Lyn Murray:
    • Necessity
    Recorded today was Frank's solo version of the song, as well as a brief "scat" excerpt, for the uncompleted animated film. (See the previous month's session, November 20, 1954, for the duet version with Ella Fitzgerald.) The arrangement for today's Sinatra solo was by Nelson Riddle.

    Musicians (36): Ray Linn, Cecil Read, Pete Candoli (trumpet); Milt Bernhart, Albert Anderson, Elmer Smithers (trombone); Martin Ruderman, Sylvia Ruderman (flute); Arnold Koblentz (oboe); Jack Dumont, Phil Sobel, Dale Issenhuth, Jess Carneol, Victor Garber (saxophone); Victor Arno, Robert Barene, Anatol Kaminsky, Leonard Atkins, Israel Baker, William Miller, Harry Solloway, Marshall Moss, Adrian Holland, Maurice Koukel, Erica Keen, Victor Bay (violin); Joseph Di Fiore, Louis Kievman (viola); Armand Kaproff, Ray Kramer (cello); Dorothy Remsen (harp); Bill Miller (piano); Howard Roberts (guitar); Phil Stephens (bass); Frank Flynn, Lee Perrin (percussion).
    __________________

    Saturday, December 11, 1954

    On this date, one day before his 39th birthday, Frank Sinatra was back on the Goldwyn Studios soundstage for a final recording for Finian's Rainbow, arranged by Nelson Riddle and conducted by Lyn Murray:
    • That Great Come-and-Get-It Day - with Children's Chorus
    There must have been considerable orchestral work in addition to this one number during this rare Saturday session, since most of the musicians were present from 1:00 to 9:15 P.M., with just a one-hour dinner break! The documentation lists this as two separate sessions, although some of the musicians arrived at 4 P.M. and were paid through the dinner hour.

    1st session: 1:00 to 5:30 P.M.

    Musicians (43): Pete Candoli, Ray Linn, Cecil Read trumpet); Milt Bernhart, Albert Anderson, Seymour Zeldin (trombone); Fred Fox, Wendell Hoss (French horn); Paul Sarmento (tuba); Arnold Koblentz, Gordon Schoneberg (oboe); Sheridon Stokes, Martin Ruderman, Sylvia Ruderman (flute); Mitchell Lurie, Phil Sobel, Dale Issenhuth (clarinet); Howard Terry, Champ Webb, Victor Garber (saxophone*); Victor Arno, Robert Barene, Anatol Kaminsky, Marshall Moss, William Miller, Israel Baker, Harry Solloway, Carl LaMagna, Adrian Holland, Maurice Koukel, Peter Sniadoff, Victor Bay (violin); Joseph Di Fiore, Louis Kievman (viola); Armand Kaproff, Ray Kramer (cello); Dorothy Remsen (harp); André Previn, Bill Miller (piano*); Howard Roberts (guitar); Phil Stephens (bass); Lee Perrin, Frank Flynn (drums/percussion).

    2nd session: 6:30 to 9:15 P.M.

    Musicians (36): Pete Candoli, Ray Linn, Cecil Read trumpet); Milt Bernhart, Albert Anderson, Seymour Zeldin (trombone); Arnold Koblentz (oboe); Martin Ruderman, Sylvia Ruderman (flute); Phil Sobel, Dale Issenhuth (clarinet); Howard Terry, Champ Webb, Victor Garber (saxophone*); Victor Arno, Robert Barene, Anatol Kaminsky, Marshall Moss, William Miller, Israel Baker, Harry Solloway, Carl LaMagna, Adrian Holland, Maurice Koukel, Peter Sniadoff, Victor Bay (violin); Joseph Di Fiore, Louis Kievman (viola); Armand Kaproff, Ray Kramer (cello); Dorothy Remsen (harp); Bill Miller (piano*); Howard Roberts (guitar*); Phil Stephens (bass*); Lee Perrin, Frank Flynn (drums/percussion).

    *Saxophones and Bill Miller from 4:00–9:15. André Previn left at 4:15. Howard Roberts and Phil Stephens stayed to 9:45.

    This would be the final Sinatra recording session for the Placid Productions animated cartoon.
    __________________

    All of the surviving musical tracks with FS vocals listed in the above sessions may be heard in the 2002 box set, Frank Sinatra in Hollywood (1940-1964), produced by Didier Deutsch and Charles Granata (disc 4 of 6).

    FS-in-Hollywood-box.jpg
    __________________
    ~ Frank's Albums
     
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  3. Bob F

    Bob F Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Details about the unfinished animated movie are scarce, but much information is provided in a 1993 Print Magazine article titled "Lost Rainbow" by John Canemaker. The article has been reproduced online—both in its original print form and in an alternate (more readable) web version:

    Note: The above was written in 1993, but we now know that the soundtrack recordings exist and (those by Sinatra, at least) have been released in the 2002 six-CD box set, Frank Sinatra in Hollywood (1940-1964). While FS and the other artists were making those recordings in late 1954, a few mentions of the upcoming film appeared in the press...

    Billboard, December 4, 1954:

    Billboard-Dec-4-1954-p21.jpg

    Billboard, January 22, 1955:

    Billboard-Jan-22-1955-p44.jpg

    The Ella Logan album was released as a 10-inch LP (Capitol H-561) and reviewed in February 1955:

    Ella-Logan-H-561-LP.jpg

    Billboard, February 19, 1955:

    Billboard-Feb-19-1955-p34.jpg

    Unfortunately, the anticipated companion soundtrack album never materialized. According to the Canemaker article, production ended abruptly that same February. (Although, Billboard was still reporting an imminent release when Ella Fitzgerald's Decca record of "Old Devil Moon" was reviewed five months later.)
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2013
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  4. Bob F

    Bob F Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Why was the animated film not released? There are several stories...

    The Canemaker article suggests that producer John Hubley's political views during the era of McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) may have had a role:
    Author Will friedwald, in his appreciation piece for the FS in Hollywood box set, "Sinatra! The Visual Factor," suggests a different political angle:
    Perhaps the most convincing reasoning comes from Chuck Granata, co-producer of the box set. From an SFF thread:
    Whatever the actual story, we are fortunate to have at least the Frank Sinatra recordings today. There remain additional soundtrack recordings by the other artists which are still unreleased:
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2013
  5. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Lodi, New Jersey
    Excellent Bob, thank you.

    My favorite version of "Old Devil Moon"...
     
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  6. Slokes

    Slokes Cruel But Fair

    Location:
    Greenwich, CT USA
    Have the tracks with Ella Fitzgerald and Satchmo ever been officially released on any collection? I don't think I've seen them anywhere.
     
  7. jimac51

    jimac51 Forum Resident

    Location:
    allentown,pa.
    As a side note,John Hubley's daughter,Georgia,co-founded the rock band Yo La Tengo.
    Some may recognize my avatar from a UPA cartoon(though not directed by Hubley) based on James Thurber's short story,"The Unicorn in the Garden".
     
  8. Bob F

    Bob F Forum Resident Thread Starter

    They're in the IN HOLLYWOOD box set pictured above.

    We have other examples of Frank duetting with Ellla and Louis on television broadcasts, but this is the only time they were together in a recording studio.
     
  9. Bob F

    Bob F Forum Resident Thread Starter

    These are the Finian's Rainbow tracks contained in the FRANK SINATRA IN HOLLYWOOD box set:
    1. "Necessity"
    2. "Ad Lib Blues" – with Louis Armstrong & Jazz Trio
    3. "That Great Come-and-Get-It Day" – with Children's Chorus
    4. "Necessity" ('Scat' Version)
    5. "If This Isn't Love" – with Children's Chorus
    6. "Old Devil Moon" – with Ella Logan
      (featuring The Jazz All-Stars: Red Norvo, Ray Brown, Herb Ellis, Oscar Peterson & Frank Flynn)
    7. "Old Devil Moon" (Reprise)
      (featuring Oscar Peterson: piano)
    8. "Necessity" (Duet Version) – with Ella Fitzgerald
      (featuring The Oscar Peterson Trio)
    9. Finale: "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?" – with Ella Logan & Chorus
    Note: The finale track does not appear in the session reports listed in post #2. It's reported in the box set book as being recorded at the session of November 20, 1954. (Several of the book's dates differ slightly from those supported by the contracts.)
     
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  10. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Bob, is this from the Rainbow sessions, or some TV appearance, etc.? Just curious.
    tumblr_mj7w0waQVz1qlvqfxo1_500.jpg
     
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  11. DLant

    DLant The Dap-Gort Staff

    Location:
    Upstate New York
    The back of that piano reminds me of singing a lot of these songs in the choir rooms of college and high school.
     
  12. Bob F

    Bob F Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Last edited: Oct 17, 2013
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  13. kennyluc1

    kennyluc1 Well-Known Member

    There are 4 documented duets between FS and LA:
    1. Blue Skies..1945 radio
    2.tv..Jan 1,1952..Lonesome Man Blues
    3.Film sdtrk..Finians Rainbow
    4. 1957 tv...Birth Of The Blues
    My favorite is 1952 Lonesome Man Blues better than the movie version.
     
  14. Bob F

    Bob F Forum Resident Thread Starter

     
  15. kennyluc1

    kennyluc1 Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Bob
     
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  16. wvk3

    wvk3 Active Member

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    It would be great to hear those other recordings one day. I love this score.

    Frank revisited Finian's Rainbow for one of the Reprise Musical Repertory Theatre albums. Of course, that's quite a different animal.


    The+Reprise+Musical+Repertory+Theatre+-+Finian's+Rainbow+-+LP+RECORD-457147.jpg
     
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  17. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Sinatra and Ella Logan at the Finian's Rainbow sessions at Goldwyn, 1954?
    SinatraFiniansRainbowSHTV.jpg
     
  18. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Same outfit?
    SinatraUnknownSHTV.jpg
     
  19. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    One more?
    SinatraFinian'sRainbow2SHTV.jpg
     
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  20. rangerjohn

    rangerjohn Well-Known Member

    Location:
    chicago, il
    Shorter brimmed hat in the last one? And was he hanging with Joey Bishop in '54?
     
  21. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    I think you are right. And why would Sammy Cahn be at the Finian's Rainbow session???
     
  22. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Might that third photo be from this?
    Screen shot 2015-04-15 at 5.43.26 AM.png
    (link)
     
  23. rangerjohn

    rangerjohn Well-Known Member

    Location:
    chicago, il
  24. kennyluc1

    kennyluc1 Well-Known Member

    Yes he was hanging with Bishop in 54, he worked with FS at Bill Miller's Riveria in 53.
     
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  25. Tina_UK

    Tina_UK Well-Known Member

    Location:
    England
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