Friday Favorites – 6/7/2013

sandsI graduated in 1966 from the University of Connecticut with a degree in Electrical Engineering based on mediocre grades.   I had been a very good student in High School and for my first two years of college but I was somewhat behind my peers socially.   My junior and senior years were when I caught up, serving as Social Chairman for my fraternity and courting the young woman who would eventually be my wife.  Grades suffered so, when I graduated, I did not have a wide choice of job offers or the top salaries from which to choose.  I took a job in Boston working on solid-state military field telephone systems at Sylvania.   It wasn’t a glamor field but I learned a great deal and became a valued member of the engineering team (in spite of my grades).   Early in 1968, I found an ad in the Boston Herald seeking engineers to work on electronics for Navy submarines.  I sent in an application and before I knew it, I was at my farewell luncheon.  I only remember a few first names of my colleagues and I don’t remember where the luncheon was held.  But I do remember one of my going away gifts.

Sinatra at the Sands was a live album released in 1966 by Frank Sinatra, accompanied by Count Basie and his orchestra, conducted and arranged by Quincy Jones, recorded live at the Copa Room of the Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.  Although I’d remain a Sinatra fan for many years, in 1966, he was at his peak as both a singer and a performer.   The Count Basie Orchestra was still led by the man himself and Quincy Jones had hit his stride as the arranger for the stars.  Looking back, one of my regrets as a concert-goer is that I never got to see Sinatra live, but Sinatra at the Sands captures the experience with improvised performances, Sinatra monologues and an enthusiastic, slightly boozy Las Vegas audience.  But what really makes the recording is the selection of music, not only classic Sinatra but a who’s who of composers of the great American songbook.   There’s Gershwin, I’ve Got a Crush on You … Sammy Cahn, Come Fly with Me … Johnny Mandel, The Shadow of Your Smile … and Lerner and Leowe, Get Me to the Church.   There are classic Sinatra ballads like Johnny Mercer’s One for My Baby (and One for the Road) … the greatest bar song ever recorded … and swingers like Sammy Cahn’s My Kind of Town.  There’s the feeling-older classic, September of my Years and even an instrumental version of Count Basie’s One O’clock Jump.

But my favorite cut (as we used to say when tunes were cut into vinyl) is Cole Porter’s marvelous I’ve Got You Under My Skin.   This is one of my favorite Porter tunes and although there are other versions I like (Diana Krall comes to mind) with this recording Sinatra owns it.

Turn it up. Close your eyes.   Pretend it’s 1966 and you’re at a front row table at the Sands in your rented tux with a Cosmopolitan (the drink not the magazine) in your hand.  As he sings, But why should I try to resist when, baby, I know down well I’ve got you under my skin? he looks down at your table and winks.

Friday Favorite.  Have a swingin’ weekend.

P.S. – Just in case you love this stuff, every song is linked.

Explore posts in the same categories: feeling older

2 Comments on “Friday Favorites – 6/7/2013”

  1. Ah some beautiful music you mentioned here! Always enjoyed listening to ‘Old Blue Eyes” as one of the best ever.

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