Sinatra / Capitol Sound Quality (and general discussion): Singles, Soundtracks, Etc.

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by MLutthans, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Lodi, New Jersey
    Matt, I think the version off the COLLECTORS SERIES disc sounds best. Most well balanced, believable, best presence on Frank's vocal, and seemingly authentic to the tapes. I'd probably pick the Dell LP 2nd.
     
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  2. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff Thread Starter

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    ^^^^^^ Cool. Thanks, Martin! To my ears, there are three really top-notch masterings of I've Got the World on a String: That COLLECTORS SERIES (which got recycled on several other CD releases), the UK MFP 2-disc CD set, and the UK Dell This is Sinatra LP. All winners, IMO. Ron Furmanek and Larry Walsh really did a great job on that COLLECTORS SERIES disc, no question about it.

    Now (and I find this kind of funny), if you want the best sounding version that doesn't have the tape damage, I'd go with the Star Line LP! My guess, though, is that there have to be some original D pressings that are even better, but that D1 we heard isn't going to win any awards, sad to say. (Anybody have a good D pressing This is Sinatra??) This is Sinatra, by the way, is a compilation album that was actually made from the master session tapes, not from dubs, so it *should* sound good if well cut.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2013
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  3. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff Thread Starter

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Still on "I've Got the World on a String"

    Thanks to Rangerjohn, we now have a clip of a well-regarded "Dr. Robert" transfer of the 1980s Toshiba-EMI This is Sinatra track. In fact, there are three comparisons. (See here or direct links below.)

    1. 30-second clip from the Japanese LP: http://www.11fifty.com/Site_108/1953_-_SinglesEtc2_files/IGWS ToshibaECJ-60036 Sample.wav

    2. Japanese LP ---> Dell LP: http://www.11fifty.com/Site_108/1953_-_SinglesEtc2_files/IGWSToshiba-UK85.wav

    3. Collectors Series CD ---> Japanese LP: http://www.11fifty.com/Site_108/1953_-_SinglesEtc2_files/IGWS Collectors-ToshibaLP.wav

    (All the clips fall within the 30-second iTunes free sample. No free music giveaways here.)

    One notable aspect of the Toshiba pressing is that it does not have the infamous dropout at the beginning of "I've Got the World on a String." The other three (IMO) top editions did have the dropout.

    R-4004228-1352027672-4880.jpeg

    Matt
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2013
  4. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Lodi, New Jersey
    Now I'd rank the ECJ LP as 2nd best, and the Dell as third.

    I have an original ("LONG PLAYING" only on labels) D10/D8 LP, and it's nothing special sonically.
     
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  5. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff Thread Starter

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    ^^^^^^^Thanks, Martin. Any other opinions, anybody?

    Clips here: http://www.11fifty.com/Site_108/1953_-_SinglesEtc2.html

    By the way, here's a This is Sinatra Japanese test pressing that's on Ebay currently. Note the transposed parentheses on (Love is) The Tender Trap, and, of course, the different artwork.

    The vinyl is made from US D stampers.
    ThisIsSinatraJapan1SHTV.jpg ThisIsSinatraJapanSHTV2.jpg
     
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  6. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff Thread Starter

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Looking at "Don't Worry 'Bout Me" next --

    What a great song! Any thoughts as to why this was held up for release for a year? (Well....352 days?) I remember back to the first time I heard this song in the 1980s, and even then, I thought to myself, "Self, that doesn't sound like a typical single of the time period" because most of the Capitol singles of that era had some sort of flourish or "grabber" opening, and this one starts so "mellowly," and then just kind of slow burns until that instrumental break in the middle, which was way different from the typical Capitol singles sound.

    Any thought that maybe, like happened to "Last Night When We Were Young" several months later, this track was considered as a potential album track? I could see that happening, but I may just be blowing smoke. Could be a great concept album: Guy meets girl; guy and girl fall in love; girl leaves guy; girl thinks guy will never be the same; guy won't be the same, but he'll never let on.

    I'd buy that album!

    As far as audio clips go, here are the versions that I think we already have lined up:

    Original promo 78 (from stevelucille)
    This is Sinatra D1 (from Eharmonica via rangerjohn), plus Star Line and Alan Dell LPs
    Where Are You Walsh CD (bonus track)
    Where Are You Norberg CD (bonus track - from rangerjohn)
    Complete Capitol Singles (from rangerjohn)
    Look Over Your Shoulder UK LP
    The Capitol Years 3-CD set
    This is Frank Sinatra 1953-1957 UK CD
    Capitol Collectors Series CD
    Gold! 1989 CD
    3 Coins in a Fountain EP (from stevelucille)
    The Capitol Years 21-CD UK set (from Bob F)

    The more the merrier! If you have another release of this song that you can share, please chime in and/or PM me. Thanks!

    Matt

    PS - still soliciting other opinions on tracks from the previous singles comparisons, here and here. So far MMM and I are a chorus of two!
     
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  7. Bob F

    Bob F Forum Resident

    "Don't Worry 'Bout Me" was not a typical single of the time period. In fact, it was not at all a typical Sinatra single of the '50s, as it originated in 1939. Frank seldom released such standards as singles after 1955. However, I don't think it was held back because an album release was envisioned. It was more likely a matter of waiting until other current offerings had cleared the singles pipeline (e.g. "From Here to Eternity" due to the movie release).

    In his essay, Songs for Swingin' Singles: An Appreciation, Will Friedwald touches also upon the suitability of the song for a concept album, but he reaches the opposite conclusion than Matt:
    (The author goes on to say that, while you should listen to the concept albums all the way through in a single sitting, you probably wouldn't want to play the four COMPLETE SINGLES discs in uninterrupted succession.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013
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  8. Bob F

    Bob F Forum Resident

    What's surprising about this is that the other three tracks from the April 30, 1953 session in the SINATRA: THE CAPITOL YEARS box are perfect mono. No "stereo widening" at all.

    (I even thought I might have mistakenly mislabeled the file I sent to Matt, so I went back to re-rip and double-check. No mistake: One of these tracks is not like the others!)

    not-like-the-others.jpg

    [ADDED:]
    Perhaps the track they placed in the box set was substituted BECAUSE of the audible tape damage? And all they could find was this compressed fake-stereo version?
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013
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  9. rangerjohn

    rangerjohn Forum Resident

    Location:
    chicago, il
    Interesting question about whether "Worry" could have been inserted onto a concept album as "Last Night" was. The latter, of course, became the centerpiece of WSHM. Some think it doesn't fit, but I feel like it made the album a little deeper--taking the overall melancholic tone to a more dark, desperate level.

    The Sinatra-Riddle orphan "standards" from the early Capitol period certainly could have formed the basis of a pre-Close to You or pre-Nice N Easy: "Don't Worry," "Last Night," "Someone to Watch," even "Gal That Got Away," although in a different tempo.

    Aside: I still think that the "cold" start of "Worry" leaves open the possibility that the verse was recorded, but ultimately edited out because, as Bob suggests, FS didn't "do" verses on singles. The verse was then lost or attached to some other tape reel. Just speculating....

    (The verse, by the way, is not IMHO up to the lyrical/musical quality of the rest of the song--another reason for cutting it out.)
     
  10. Bob F

    Bob F Forum Resident

    Don't laugh, but I actually picked this one up. Cost me all of $2.60. Even at that, it was a regrettable purchase, especially after hearing the "exclusive" track—Matt Dusk singing The Apprentice theme ("Money, Money, Money") with overdubbed narration by Donald Trump. :rolleyes:

    As was to be expected for a 2007 issue, Sinatra's "I've Got the World on a String" is the Norberg version. Very similar to (and a tad louder than) the track on CLASSIC SINATRA.
     
  11. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff Thread Starter

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
  12. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff Thread Starter

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Re: "Don't Worry 'Bout Me"

    We have a surprising situation with the assorted CD masterings on this one. I checked 7 CDs, and they have 6-and-a-half unique masterings. Here's what I mean:

    Mastering #1: Walsh/Furmanek -- Collectors Series - True mono, 1989
    Mastering #2: Norberg -- Gold! - Widened, etc., 1989
    Mastering #3: Walsh -- Where Are You bonus track - True mono, 1991
    Mastering #4: Uncredited -- "This is Frank Sinatra, 1953-1957" UK CD - True mono, 1994
    Mastering #5: Norberg -- Capitol Singles box, 1996 - widened, etc.
    Mastering #6: Uncredited -- UK boxed set - True mono, 1998
    Mastering #5b: Norberg - Where Are You bonus track - widened, etc., 2002??

    That last one is really strange. 5 and 5b stay in sync for the first 1:56, then the WHERE ARE YOU disc transitions into yet another unique mastering.
     
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  13. Blackie

    Blackie Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I've got a teal label D9/D9#2 I can provide clips from if you let me know what would help!
     
  14. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff Thread Starter

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Thanks, Blackie! (PM sent.)
     
  15. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff Thread Starter

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    From Billboard, April 10, 1954, 16 days prior to the release date listed in Collectors Series.
    SinatraBillboardApril10 1954.jpg
     
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  16. Bob F

    Bob F Forum Resident

    No. It's either Walsh + compression (really slammed), or it's a new transfer. The tape dropout is there, and there's no widening, but it's mono-on-a-stereo-tape-machine. I'm sending this one along to you, Matt, to see if you agree.
     
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  17. Bob F

    Bob F Forum Resident

    The individual (EOTC) CD came out in January 2002, but it's an exact dupe of the CONCEPTS box disc from September 2000.

    P.S. Questions about compact disc release dates are answered here.
     
  18. rangerjohn

    rangerjohn Forum Resident

    Location:
    chicago, il
    Very perceptive of Billboard on the "autobiographical" aspect of "I Could Have Told You." It was recorded during one of the last, and particularly bad, rough patches in the Frank-Ava relationship.
     
  19. rangerjohn

    rangerjohn Forum Resident

    Location:
    chicago, il
    Norberg never could stop fiddling around, could he?

    Is the one from the Norberg Singles box, the interesting "guilty pleasure" that "String" was?
     
  20. Arkoffs

    Arkoffs sitting in the back of a car

    I've got an original This is Sinatra as well, I'll check it and see how "String" sounds. After listening to the comparison clips I'm guessing it will lead me to need an upgrade to a different LP pressing (though I did score the Collectors Series CD at a rummage sale a month or so back) ...

    I see a revived search for the Dell LP box in my future. heh.
     
  21. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff Thread Starter

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Re: Don't Worry 'Bout Me:
    No, although the vocal tone is nice enough, and the tinkering is "Norberg Lite."

    By the way, I think I figured out why "Mastering 5b" (the bonus track on the Norberg Where Are You CD) has that oddball splice at 1:56. It's because at 2:15 there's a significant dropout -- and one that is unique to this mastering -- in "Mastering 5," the Complete Capitol Singles set. That said, the Singles mastering is only mildly messed with, while the Where Are You Norberg bonus track version is absolutely horrid sounding. (I'll get clips up at some point.)
     
  22. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff Thread Starter

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Re: The 2011 Best of the Best release of "I've Got the World on a String"

    Thanks for the clip! It's a unique/new transfer, yes, but (as you said) really slammed, indeed. Here's a comparison of the 1985 Dell LP and the 2011 Best of the Best waveforms:
    Screen shot 2013-08-20 at 4.59.07 PM.jpg

    I've also updated the song's section on this page: http://www.11fifty.com/Site_108/1953_-_SinglesEtc2.html

    PS - I'm not 100% sure that it's a mono tape being played on a stereo machine. (I'm truly not sure.) I think it may be a true mono track with just a faint wisp of stereo "stuff" sneaking through as the result of the dynamic processing/smooshing. Regardless, it's not "pure" mono, but it's about 99% of the way there, and closer to true mono than, say, the MFP "Swing Easy."
     
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  23. Bob F

    Bob F Forum Resident

    They should have titled the 2011 CD: WORST OF THE BEST. Hard to understand how the same Larry Walsh could have been involved in that one (engineering and mixing). Actual mastering credit is to Capitol's Ron McMaster. I'm sure the producers (Charles Pignone and Frank Collura) influenced the results.
     
  24. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff Thread Starter

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    I've wondered aloud in other threads just how much influence the "suits" have in the choice of mastering style on these Sinatra CDs, as there certainly is a roster of engineers who have done very good work in the past who are now putting out product that is absolutely a step backwards, sonically speaking. Very frustrating, and my guess is that the mastering guys -- who I'm sure "know what sounds good" in purely sonic terms -- really feel a need to please the clients who hire them.
     
  25. rangerjohn

    rangerjohn Forum Resident

    Location:
    chicago, il
    My goodness. They certainly took a hedge clipper to that one. Ouch.
     

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