Sinatra / Capitol Sound Quality and General Discussion: "Point of No Return" - rec. 1961*

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by paulmock, Feb 5, 2012.

  1. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    We really need to add this to our Capitol Sound Quality list of threads....this LP I mean...It does evoke a lot of mixed feelings from a lot of stout-hearted fans.:agree:
     
  2. feinstei9415

    feinstei9415 Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    I think that Point Of No Return is one of the most emotion-filled performances of his career. It's my favorite Sinatra work. I like to perhaps make believe that the presence of Axel Stordahl (of blessed memory) tugged a bit at Sinatra's heart and caused him to give some heart-felt performances -- but I'm probably giving Sinatra's ability to display emotion too much credit. Think of the beautiful gentleness Stordahl executions of "I'll Remember April", "As Time Goes By", and "I'll Be Seeing You" and revisit this album sometime. It's really quite nice if you forget the "stories" told about Sinatra being pissed off during the sessions. Others dispute these rumors.

    There's nothing wrong with the Alan Dell LP. It reveals the absolutely wonderful mixing and mastering being done at Capitol at that time. I disagree about the brightness aspect. I play it on a vacuum tube Marantz system and it sounds full, rich, and very beautifully mastered. Nothing "clinical" about it (but then again, I'm a huge fan of these Dell LP's).

    I have heard the mono LP as well and there's no particular advantage to it. In fact, when I recall the stereo when playing the mono, I get the feeling of being "squished". I have a couple of copies of the mono gathering mold in my garage. Stick with the stereo.....
     
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  3. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    We really need to add this to our Capitol Sound Quality list of threads....this LP I mean...It does evoke a lot of mixed feelings from a lot of stout-hearted fans.

    I think feinstei9415 just solidified the need for the discussion thread.:agree:
     
  4. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    OK, chronologically-minded fellas - the last album we did was COME SWING WITH ME, right? (I think so.) Doesn't that mean we have a couple of Reprise titles to do before POINT?

    Matt
     
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  5. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Lodi, New Jersey
    In my opinion, yes. You analyzed RING-A-DING DING! and that broke up the Capitol albums releases. I'd follow up with the next album actually recorded - I REMEMBER TOMMY.
     
  6. SinatraFan

    SinatraFan Well-Known Member

    After reading this post, I'll have to give the Alan Dell LP a spin. Haven't played it in a long time and don't really remember how it sounds. The only other version I have is the Walsh CD and that's the one I usually put on.
     
  7. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Anybody know about this photo? I grabbed this from a YouTube video, and it would appear to be 1960-62 late Capitol era, and what caught my eye is that Frank is singing into a Neumann U67. For Swingin' Session, the photos show him with an ELA 250/251. Maybe this is from the sessions with Axel Stordahl???? He looks none too thrilled to be there, but boy, what a classy outfit, even 50 years after the fact. Sinatra U67.jpg
     
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  8. jtaylor

    jtaylor Forum Resident

    Location:
    RVA
    Here's another picture from the same session. Caption says 1961 (from Douglas-Home) so this may well be the Stordahl album.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    YES! The Douglas-Home book, while small is HUGE on "being there" content. These photos are from that book and he did attend the "Point of No Return" sessions.:agree:

    As to Mr. S looking less-than-enthusiastic there, Home points out a scene where Mr. S calls for "Next tune!" and voice in the control booth overrides him. Asking why, Mr. S is told "I didn't like Bill's [Miller] piano..." Mr. S had a four word response..."I did. Next tune!!!"
     
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  10. rangerjohn

    rangerjohn Forum Resident

    Location:
    chicago, il
    Great photos! The master in his workshop, indeed!

    Thanks Matt and JT.
     
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  11. AlmightyRon

    AlmightyRon Forum Resident

    Man, it's probably something mundane but I would kill to know what is going through his mind at that moment.

    Ron
     
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  12. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Yep, I'd love to know, too. It reminds me somewhat of the cover for Cycles, which I read somewhere seemed to show Frank asking, "What have I done?"

    [​IMG] Sinatra U67.jpg
     
  13. rangerjohn

    rangerjohn Forum Resident

    Location:
    chicago, il
    Shots of "exasperated Frank" have been very influential. Check out:
     

    Attached Files:

  14. Bob F

    Bob F Senior Member

    :D Detractors of Cycles like to point that out. Except... the cover photo has nothing to do with Cycles. It was taken at the Moonlight Sinatra sessions years before. (Same session as cover photo of Strangers in the Night and several other Reprise albums.)
     
  15. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    Very true. The late author Gene Lees reported that during the "Moonlight" sessions Mr. S was exceptionally upbeat. He even took an entourage out to dinner at a Hollywood restaurant after one session and spun Dorsey stories into the wee small hours.

    I think what this "Cycles" photo captures is Mr. Prefectionist listening to a playback with intensity.

    I think "Cycles" would have been better off with Mr. S and Tiny Tim on the cover!!!!:D
     
  16. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Lodi, New Jersey
    I did some processing on the picture:

    [​IMG]
     
  17. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    You are multi-talented Martin!
     
  18. rangerjohn

    rangerjohn Forum Resident

    Location:
    chicago, il
    You can see his scars more clearly now--in every sense of the term.....
     
  19. brainwashed

    brainwashed Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Don't know when the photo was taken, but it matches his mood on the session tape for There Are Such Things, recorded during the first week of May 1961, with arranger, Cy Oliver. The tape is interesting in that Frank mentions that "he's sick" (not to mention one hears coughing here and there) and after a botching a small whistling part he says "I can't even whistle 4 bars without taking a breath." It's a shame more sessions like this aren't available for analysis. Ron
     
  20. wvk3

    wvk3 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY

    I was just listening to Point of No Return for the first time in a long while. After a quick comparison of the Walsh CD to the 21-CD UK one, I prefer the UK CD. I don't have the discerning ears that others here possess, but it just sounded more "alive" for lack of a better word. Do others have a preference?
     
  21. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    I prefer either the Dell LP or CD. I am most hopeful that the to-be-released MoFi will add the "Luscious Touch" to this album that they have to others like "Where Are You?", "Nice & Easy" and the like.
     
  22. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    It's time -- let's start tackling this insanely under appreciated, under-respected album. How about if we focus on "These Foolish Things" and "As Time Goes By?"

    I have these versions already:
    •1984 UK vinyl (Dell)
    •Two early "D" stereo cuts
    •I think I have the Walsh CD, but I checked my Sinatra "stash" yesterday, and it wasn't there. I'll dig further....

    As a conversation starter, "How about those arrangements?" There are a few spots that sound "classic Stordahl-y," but most of it sounds just worlds apart from the earlier Sinatra/Stordahl stuff. IIRC, there's some ghost-arranging going on here, but the other factors likely are a modernization/maturing of Axel's style, plus the stunningly good hi-fi stereo sound captured by Capitol on 3-track tape, which makes me wonder how different our appreciation of Stordahl may be if, say, "Songs by Sinatra" had been recorded on 3-track by Capitol, rather than in the dryish, mono, pre-tape sound we know.

    If you are able to share clips for comparison, PM me, please. The more, the merrier. I'd say we are looking for:
    •1998 UK boxed set CD
    •Norberg CD
    •Original mono

    ....and any others.

    Also, I know that there's a SH.TV member in Florida who has (had?) a copy of the 1983 MFSL test pressing. If you're reading this, please drop me a line! :) Pretty please.

    Thanks as always to those who contribute to these threads, without whom....
     
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  23. Bob F

    Bob F Senior Member

    I predict some album cover artwork comparisons, also. There were some interesting variations in the number of songs listed and the placement/color of Frank Sinatra's name. :)
     
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  24. Bob F

    Bob F Senior Member

    Let's not forget that eight years had passed since Stordahl last arranged for Sinatra (at his first Capitol session in '53), and Axel was already in failing health. (He died of cancer at the age of 50, just two years after these recordings were made.)

    Two of the twelve tracks were ghost-written by Heinie Beau—"I'll Remember April" and "It's A Blue World." Heinie was used to that from his days with Axel arranging for Frank at Columbia. The other ten songs were true Stordahl charts, and it's nice to hear his work in the "Capitol sound." Makes for some interesting theorizing about what might (or might not) have been if Nelson Riddle hadn't come along...
     
  25. Bob F

    Bob F Senior Member

    Both songs have rather obvious intercuts. The spliced section at the end of "As Time Goes By" went mostly unnoticed until 2007, when Capitol issued a remix without the edit (undocumented, on the CD: ROMANCE: SONGS FROM THE HEART).
     
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