Sinatra / Reprise Sound Quality, artwork, etc.: "All Alone" - 1962

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by MLutthans, Nov 10, 2014.

  1. MLutthans

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

    @bozburn has kindly stepped forward with clips from a "smiling Frank"-era stereo pressing. We're now up to three versions: My early R-1007 mono LP; the suitcase tracks; and bozburn's later stereo LP clips.

    I know there are many more variations out there. Anybody able to share, please? Thanks in advance.
  2. teag

    teag Forum Resident

    My copy arrived. It's the FS 1007 cover and label with the "smiling Frank" picture on the label. Probably a late 60's pressing because the inner sleeve has reprise LP's of Hendrix and Joni Mitchell's first pictured (among others). It was sealed and the vinyl looks great. Cover is a front paste on. I will report back after a listen!
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  3. AaronW

    AaronW Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    I'll send over clips from my original stereo R9 A1/B2 copy.
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  4. MLutthans

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

    Hey, things are picking up in the clip-donation biz for this thread!

    @Blackie is onboard with his A1/B2 stereo copy; @colormesinatra is sharing clips from a later period reissue stereo pressing; @floweringtoilet has a German (?) stereo pressing; @bozburn is providing clips from his smiling-Frank era stereo LP, and then I've got the one-and-only digital mastering covered, as well as an early R-1007 mono LP.

    THANK YOU! :)

    I'd still be thrilled to add more versions, if anybody would like to contribute clips. (Please PM me at any time.)

    I'm especially curious about the 12-track and 14-track Japanese releases mentioned earlier:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    .....and any later-era ('63-68???) mono pressings, i.e., F-1007 (as opposed to R-1007).
    EDIT: and S9-1007 open reel? Maybe @Loud Listener has this? Or @McLover ?

    Thanks again for to all who are able to make these comparisons happen.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2014
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  5. AaronW

    AaronW Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    On the lower right of the back of the mono LP (stereo is framed differently and lacks this) you can see the signed name Barbara Sibera, when I searched this, the name Barbara Weber kept coming up. From the "Weber" in the liner notes and a five minute search, I think this lead has potential.
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  6. MLutthans

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

    Looks right to me, Blackie!
    matching copy.jpg [​IMG]
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  7. MLutthans

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

    Looks like there are/were at least two artists named Barbara Weber.
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  8. AaronW

    AaronW Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    Here's the signature on the back of the mono All Alone:

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  9. MLutthans

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

    @Blackie -- what's the vintage of that pressing? Mine is an R-1007 A4/B2 cut, and has nothing like that on the back. The song titles are also printed in a significantly darker tone of yellow-y orange.
  10. MLutthans

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

    I've been playing this album a lot (!) over the last few days, and I think this is a very strong album. A real downer, yes, but high-caliber downerism. We'll be getting into all the sound stuff soon enough, but as a "newbie" with this album, I have a few thoughts from a musical standpoint, and some initial sound-quality thoughts, too, and here they are, in no particular order:

    •"Come Waltz with Me" -- how serious an attempt was really made to incorporate this into the album? Only two songs from among these Jenkins-led sessions were completed in one take: This song (the album's would-be title track) and All Alone (the album's actual title track). Where would it have fit on the album? And how would it have altered the overall mood? It seems to me that....
    •....The opening and closing tracks were decided upon during the planning stages, with that ethereal soprano voice used to bookend the proceedings.
    •The soprano has a very different effect on the mono LP mix vis-a-vis the stereo CD mix. On the mono mix, it's like she's coming in over the mist, floating off somewhere in the distance, like a spirit that's not really there. On the stereo CD, she appears like Frankie Remley's girlfriend over in the guitar section, very present-sounding, which I don't think serves the effect very well. Me? I want to hear this effect as being almost ghostly. "Clinically clear" should never enter the equation.
    •At first, the soprano struck me as a distraction, but as I've become familiar with the album, and heard her in her (arguably) intended "ethereal" state, I've grown to actual like the effect. It's grown to strike me as oddly poignant.
    •Who produced the album? Earlier, the thought that it was A&R man Neil Hefti was mentioned, and I found this curious credit:
    Screen shot 2014-11-18 at 12.32.50 AM.png
    ^^^^^Don Costa?????
    To me, this album points out something that is sorely missing on so many Reprise albums: The presence of a strong, detail-oriented, insightful producer like Voyle Gilmore. Looking back at Where Are You, for instance, there are some small edits in the original release that are incredibly nit-picky, yet justified and effective. There's also the incredible song selection on all those albums between 1953 and 1958 -- barely a hiccup in the entire bunch. Dave Cavanaugh never seemed as consistent, although I realize he had to deal with a less-happy Sinatra at times. Reprise producers strike me largely as "yes men," and understandably so. (Can you imagine a performance as starch-collared as Sinatra and Strings coming out of Capitol in '58? Or an album that gets chopped down to ten songs? Or that sounded like Ring-a-Ding Ding?) I bring this up because there are some LITTLE things that, I think, an invested, thoughtful, detail-minded producer would have or should have polished up, things like: The little "hitch" in Sinatra's voice near the end of the title track. How about a re-take of the last 8 bars or so to fix that? It caught my ear literally the first time I heard it. Same thing with two notes in "Are You Lonesome Tonight." Whatever notes Frank was intending to sing on the final "shall I," the notes that came out were wrong, and should have been patched up. That just never would have cut it over at Capitol, no? (I know that by, say, 1964, edits became more and more common.) How about the chimes? Somebody should have noticed that something was resonating when the chimes were struck, and somebody should have fixed it. Somebody like Voyle Gilmore (and probably Dave Cavanaugh or producer Bill Miller or Lee Gillette, etc.) would have seen to it. At Reprise? Meh..... Along those same lines: there's audible AME crrrrrrrrrunch all over all of Ring-a-Ding Ding. At Capitol, they would have thrown that baby out with the bathwater, but at Reprise?
    PutnamAvatar.jpg cap-crunch1.jpg
    "Crunch-a-tize me, Cap'n!" -- and don't just do it once. Keep it comin', session after session!

    •Song selection: This album, on the whole, is very effective, although two songs strike me as being from a far less dark place, and not quite in character with the rest of the tracks: The Girl Next Door and The Song is Ended. I've always viewed the former as being very hopeful in overall tone. "I just adore her, so I can't ignore her." That's not exactly "dark night of the soul" material. Likewise, The Song is Ended (but the Melody Lingers On) is not a "downer" song. This would have fit very well, thematically, on In the Wee Small Hours, i.e., she's gone, I miss her, but I'm going to think about her tonight, and that's okay. I've come to like this Reprise performance, but it strikes me as belonging on a different album, although the re-emergence of the conceptual soprano does help to drive it home somewhat.
    •I love how Gordon Jenkins really allowed the orchestra to take time to breathe in spots, like the pizzicato notes in "Oh, How I Miss You Tonight." There's a lot of ebb and flow in the arrangements on this album, IMO. Very tasteful! It's at peace with itself.

    Alright, enough blah blah blah. Just had a few things on my mind. :) Great album overall, IMO. Not a masterpiece like WHERE ARE YOU, but very, very strong, notwithstanding. Depressing as heck, which is a compliment.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2014
  11. bozburn

    bozburn Forum Resident

    Conyers, GA, US
    Great post, Matt. Your thoughts on producer differences between the Capitol and early Reprise albums hit the nail on the head.

    I've enjoyed "The Song Is Ended" for a long time, but only apart from Alone. I've had this album on my turntable more and more lately, and it's becoming a personal prelude to my ultimate Sinatra-Jenkins obsession September of My Years. They fit so well together.
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  12. floweringtoilet

    floweringtoilet Forum Resident

    Warren, RI, USA
    I remembered wrong. Mine is the 12 track Japanese pressing as pictured above. But that's one you're particularly curious to hear, so that's good. I'll needledrop it as soon as I get the chance.
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  13. Bob F

    Bob F Senior Member

    Massachusetts USA
    I'm skeptical. The only hits I get for "Barbara Sibera" are in Poland, with no connection to the artist Barbara Weber. The artist referenced in your link was married to photographer Lawrence Wright (—> blog). According to his long-inactive Yahoo group, Weber had died by 2012 at the age of 88. Nowhere on that forum or his defunct website is there any mention of the Sinatra portrait that I can find.
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  14. Simon A

    Simon A Arrr!

    Nice detective work Bob! Could it be that Sibera is either her Maiden name or her "nom de plume"?
  15. Bob F

    Bob F Senior Member

    Massachusetts USA
    Weber was her maiden name. Her husband's surname is Wright.
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  16. Tina_UK

    Tina_UK Forum Resident

    Hmm now that signature has everyone scratching their heads, I'm sure. Being a keen ancestry researcher I've tried many variations of the surname but to no avail.
  17. MLutthans

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

    @Blackie - are you sure that signature is actually printed as part of the artwork? Any chance somebody just wrote their name in the lower corner and it LOOKS like it's part of the album's artwork?

    Anybody else have a mono cover like that? As I mentioned, my early R-1007 has no such signature.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2014
  18. AaronW

    AaronW Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    It's an original gatefold R-1007 with A3/B4 cut.

    I'll double check when I get home tonight but it sure looked like part of the original artwork. The stereo copy I have crops off the bottom so it's not on that. Anyone also have an original gatefold mono they can check?
  19. MLutthans

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

    My A4/B2 mono gatefold does not have it. Anybody else? With all the certified monoheads around here, somebody's got to have one!
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2014
  20. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Lodi, New Jersey
    My "R" prefix A4/B4 copy doesn't have that signature on the back cover.
  21. SinatraFan

    SinatraFan Well-Known Member

    My mono copy doesn't have it either. Seems like someone wrote that name on the back.
  22. AaronW

    AaronW Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    Since it's not on anyone else's copies it looks like I inadvertently led us on a wild goose chase! And the artist is still a mystery...
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  23. MLutthans

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

    Had me fooled! The color palette seems very similar, for instance. Ah, well....
  24. MLutthans

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

    Is the mastering for Come Waltz with Me the same on the Sinatra Sings The Songs Of Van Heusen And Cahn CD as on the other CD releases?
  25. MLutthans

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

    Here's an odd thing:

    In stereo, the layout for the three-track is like this for ten of the album songs, plus Come Waltz with Me:

    Left: woodwinds, upper strings, bass
    Center: Frank
    Right: soprano (when present), French horns, guitar, harp, lower strings, percussion, celeste (when present)

    For one song, OH, HOW I MISS YOU TONIGHT, we get this, with changes highlighted in red:
    Left: woodwinds, all strings (bass moved off this track)
    Center: Frank
    Right: French horns, guitar, harp, percussion, bass (low strings moved off this track)

    This was the tenth of twelve songs recorded at these sessions, and the second of four recorded during the final session, so....why the change? A balance issue during the pizzicato string interlude maybe????? :shrug:

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