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Frank Sinatra: The Reprise Years (38-Disc Box Set from UMG)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Bob F, Dec 1, 2010.

  1. Bob F

    Bob F Senior Member Thread Starter

    The Reprise Years: Audio Analysis (Preliminary)

    Caveat: This is based on a quick examination of EAC track time fingerprints and checksums. I haven't yet performed exhaustive comparisons, but I'm 90% sure this information will prove correct:
    1. All of the CDs which have been released to date by Universal in Europe and Japan (see [post=5547913]here[/post] and [post=5580902]here[/post])—NOT including the four studio albums remixed by Concord Records and duplicated by Universal—are identical. In fact, the disc labels are exactly the same, including the printed catalog numbers.

    2. FRANCIS ALBERT SINATRA & ANTONIO CARLOS JOBIM is the previous 10-track reissue, not the new 20-track "complete" SINATRA JOBIM remix from Concord.

    3. MY WAY, STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT, and SEPTEMBER OF MY YEARS are the previous Warner/Reprise CDs, NOT the remixed Concord deluxe editions with bonus tracks. In the case of SOMY, it's the 1998 EOTC remaster. These three discs are likely to remain unique to this box set: I can't see UMG issuing individual versions of the "old" CDs when they've already put their label on the "new" versions.

    4. The seven titles which have not yet been issued separately by UMG (see [post=5890360]here[/post]) are all identical to the earlier OOP Warner/Reprise CDs. (ALL ALONE has lost its bonus track, "Come Waltz with Me," but it's otherwise the same as the rare Reprise CD.) I predict these will all be released individually in the coming year.

    5. SHE SHOT ME DOWN is the "new" (revised) remastering. This is the ONLY album previously available on a Reprise CD which has been remastered. It is also the only disc which is HDCD-encoded.
    In short, what we have here is a complete collection of the most recent Reprise CD issues (except for SSMD), with a few bonus tracks dropped, plus the two new-to-CD albums, AMERICA, I HEAR YOU SINGING and SINATRA '65.
    ~ Frank's Albums
  2. rangerjohn

    rangerjohn Forum Resident

    chicago, il
    Thank you for the provisional summary of the box's content, Bob!

    Forgive me if this is a stupid question, but when you say

    The seven titles which have not yet been issued separately by UMG (see here) are all identical to the earlier OOP Warner/Reprise CDs

    does this mean the mastering is identical to the suitcase tracks for these albums?

    (Whereas the other titles previously released individually by UMG are obviously different, more recent, masterings than the suitcase tracks.)
  3. zonka

    zonka Forum Resident

    Peoria, AZ USA
    I'm trying to figure out if this is worth getting if I already have the suitcase. Overall, is it considered a sonic upgrade from the suitcase?

    Thanks for any/all opinions
  4. rangerjohn

    rangerjohn Forum Resident

    chicago, il
    Zonka, in the past people have identified the following 1998 titles as improvements over the suitcase tracks:

    "Sinatra Swings"
    "FAS & ACJ"
    "Francis A & Edward K"

    Opinions on the other albums have varied.

    In fact, on the recent Ring-a-Ding-Ding link, people are now expressing a preference for the suitcase mastering over the '98 remaster of RDD.
  5. Joe Z

    Joe Z Forum Resident

    Central CT, USA
    And rangerjohn, if I can add to that: the new, remastered "She Shot Me Down" seemed to get excellent reviews as a potential step-up from the Suitcase tracks.
  6. noname74

    noname74 Allegedly Canadian

    Bob- I dont have any Reprise Sinatra besides a single disc best of...I owned a lot of these in the past but for whatever reason traded them or something but bottomline is I dont have much reprise stuff. Is this a good set to buy? Is it a positive that they arent using the concord remixed versions?

  7. Bob F

    Bob F Senior Member Thread Starter

    Not necessarily. It means that these discs are digitally identical to the previous individual Reprise CDs. There may be differences from the suitcase, but I haven't done an exhaustive comparison.

    I believe we discussed this before in the earlier threads: The twelve albums which were remastered for the EOTC series in 1998 (see [post=5548189]this post[/post]) are different than the suitcase. Most of the others are probably the same mixes, but it has to be examined on a track-by-track basis, and I haven't done that (as yet).
  8. Bob F

    Bob F Senior Member Thread Starter

    My short answer is: No, it's not worth it on the basis of sonics alone. There are some identifiable improvements, but the bulk of the material is the same as the suitcase. See [post=5892510]this post[/post] in the earlier thread.
  9. Bob F

    Bob F Senior Member Thread Starter

    Yes and yes. :)

    I mean that sincerely... Audiophiles will find fault with the mastering of these discs in comparison to the original LPs, but if you're picking these up on CD for the first time, it's a great set to buy, IMO. And I won't even begin to say what many here think of the Concord remixes! :shake: (It's been hashed and rehashed in other threads.)

    [Added:] Of course, you still have to look at it on an album-by-album basis. In the case of SEPTEMBER OF MY YEARS, the Concord remix is considered superior to the previous EOTC remix which they've put in this box. With SINATRA-JOBIM, it's the other way around.
  10. Bob F

    Bob F Senior Member Thread Starter

    Book and sleeves

    Here's some more about the packaging which I just posted at the SFF:

    The book is very thick, 256 pages. The first 24 pages contain a new essay by Stan Cornyn (an enjoyable read), along with a dozen or so photos. The remainder of the book consists of the original liner notes and album art, one after another, each preceded by a cover image. There is no table of contents and no technical or production credits for the box set as a whole.

    Incidentally, the actual album sleeves present a small puzzle—in the literal sense of the word "puzzle." Each album has a cardboard gatefold sleeve, with the front and back of the current (European) CD on its outside covers. The discs are contained in plain white paper sleeves which insert into a pocket in the rear cover through its side (or both front and rear covers, for the two double-CD albums). I.e., it's just like a mini gatefold LP album, although these are NOT exact replicas of the original LPs as are the Japanese SHM-CD issues by Universal.

    The inside of the folded sleeves is where the puzzle comes in: There is no text or artwork/photos/notes inside. Instead, each of the 36 inside sleeves, when unfolded, contains a piece of a photograph. Its like a giant jigsaw puzzle with 12 rows of 3 pieces across. I haven't put them all together yet, as I don't have a clear table or floor space large enough! :D
  11. rangerjohn

    rangerjohn Forum Resident

    chicago, il
    Zonka and Noname, the Amazon UK deal on this set that Bob turned us onto is probably the most cost-effective way to get such an enormous chunk of Reprise material. Its very difficult to get the same kind a buy on the Suitcase, dollar per track. FWIW.....
  12. noirbar

    noirbar Forum Resident

    San Antone
    I came home tonight with one thought on my mind -- I wonder if Bob got his box set!!

    Thanks for your initial thoughts Bob. As a recent suitcase purchaser, can't wait for your more in-depth reviews after you've had a chance to thoroughly digest this beautiful new set.

  13. farmingdad

    farmingdad Forum Resident

    albany, oregon
    Thanks for all the great info. Do you think prices will eventually come down on the Amazon US version?
  14. Bob F

    Bob F Senior Member Thread Starter

    Anything is possible, but historically, the Amazon US prices have always run much higher than those at Amazon UK for these Sinatra UMG imports. But why pay a premium to the US store for an import which you can buy directly from the UK? (It's not a different version.) And for just $5 standard s&h, you get two-day delivery by UPS!

    It's a no-brainer: Order from Amazon UK.
  15. Bob F

    Bob F Senior Member Thread Starter


    BTW, it's not been mentioned yet in this thread, but the DVD is unlocked (Region 0, for worldwide viewing) and is NTSC format (viewable on North American DVD players). The stereo soundtrack is reportedly remastered.


    The only extras on the DVD are two trailers for the separate CONCERT FOR THE AMERICAS and SINATRA AND FRIENDS DVDs released by Universal this past year.
  16. aoxomoxoa

    aoxomoxoa Play that fast thing one more time

    Dayton Ohio
    I plan on reconstructing the box set on CDR for myself. I can't see paying this much for music I already have.
  17. Bob F

    Bob F Senior Member Thread Starter

    I'm sure there are many who feel the same, and justifiably so. I'm not exactly sure who Universal thinks is their target market for this, but it IS touted as a "limited edition," so they probably don't expect to produce many sets.

    There are some albums which cannot be reconstructed from the Reprise suitcase, notably A MAN AND HIS MUSIC with Sinatra's narration. But that will probably be available separately, along with all the other albums in this box. So those who need just a few titles to fill in their collection can do so easily without such a major expenditure.
  18. Tjazz

    Tjazz Music is my Mistress

    If I see it for about $100, I buy it.
  19. Bob F

    Bob F Senior Member Thread Starter

    Not very long ago, a single out-of-print disc now contained in this set was selling for $100+ on eBay. :)
  20. shicorp

    shicorp Forum Resident

    Many thanks for all the information, Bob. I'm glad to hear that they did press own CDs for the box set - rather than using the Concord disks. All sonic issues left aside, they would still have made the set inconsistent due to their bonus tracks. It seems that the book is a real winner - following your comments and the previous review on amazon.de.

    I guess it's about time to post my own comments on amazon.de. It's distracting (to say the least) that an allegedly long-time Sinatra fan posts there that this box set contains ALL of the Reprise recordings. Remember, that Universal was fair enough not to use the term "complete" in connection with this box set. While I still think that it is a great box set for those who own close to no Reprise Sinatra, it may be a bit misleading for those people who think that they are getting all of the recordings.
  21. shicorp

    shicorp Forum Resident

    Well, then this is still the place to go:


    I did the same years ago (putting two albums on each CD-R). You could also add the bonus tracks of the previous Reprise CDs. To be honest, I think some of them shouldn't have been dropped from the UMG re-issues since they were recorded during the same sessions as the corresponding album tracks and probably were left off the LPs due to timing constraints. Anyway, the present box set, I think, is a much better presentation for the casual listener than the Reprise suitcase. I guess there are even people who are spending big bucks on the trunk who won't go into the trouble to re-create the original albums - and thus never listen to the music as it was intended to hear.
  22. wave

    wave Forum Resident

    Allen Park, MI
    Bob, is there a dramatic or noticeable difference between the specials on this DVD and the corresponding specials contained in the Concert Collection? (No rush in case you haven't had a chance to watch it completely.)
  23. Bob F

    Bob F Senior Member Thread Starter

    Reprise CD bonus tracks

    I would argue however with some of the past bonus track choices (e.g. on SWINGIN' BRASS). Note that Reprise began eliminating bonus tracks back in 1998 when the [post=5548189]Entertainer of the Century[/post] remasters were issued. Of the 35 studio albums in the box, only seven ever had bonus tracks to begin with and four of those were the EOTC versions included in this set.

    In fact, only two such tracks were dropped from these UMG reissue CDs: "Come Waltz with Me" and "Lady Day." Strangely, one bonus track was left intact here: "Roses of Picardy." For the record, these are all the bonus tracks that were ever placed on Reprise CDs:
    1. RING-A-DING DING! [non-EOTC issue]
      Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart
      The Last Dance
      The Second Time Around

    2. I REMEMBER TOMMY [non-EOTC issue]
      In the Blue of Evening

    3. SINATRA & STRINGS [non-EOTC issue]
      As You Desire Me
      Don't Take Your Love from Me

      Everybody's Twistin'
      Nothing but the Best
      You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me

      Roses of Picardy

    6. ALL ALONE
      Come Waltz with Me

      Lady Day

    8. SINATRA AT THE SANDS [EOTC issue] (not included in box set)
      Luck Be a Lady
  24. Bob F

    Bob F Senior Member Thread Starter

    Actually, they do use the word "complete" on a sticker on the outside shrink wrap. That's where the text in my top post comes from. Of course, "complete albums" is not the same as "complete recordings," but I can see where it might be misleading to non-experts.

    Of course, "complete albums" is not accurate either: This box is missing 12 SONGS OF CHRISTMAS (with Crosby and Waring), the four REPRISE MUSICAL REPERTORY THEATRE multi-artist show tunes albums, the ROBIN AND THE 7 HOODS soundtrack, and the two FRANK SINATRA'S GREATEST HITS collections.

    (In the case of 12 SONGS, Nancy Sinatra has explained there was a licensing conflict: WEA bundles that with its Christmas edition of NOTHING BUT THE BEST in the UK.)
  25. Bob F

    Bob F Senior Member Thread Starter

    In a quick preview, I didn't notice an apparent difference, but I'm not too good at video comparisons, wave. ;) When I find that round tuit that seems to have rolled away yesterday, I may try to rip the video and audio files off the DVDs and compare them quantitatively. I'll keep the question in mind.

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