I’ve been a Sinatra fan for almost sixty years, first finding him shortly after he won an Academy Award for his supporting role in From Here to Eternity in the early Fifties. He had been the darling of the bobbysoxers in the Forties, but I never much cared for that part of his career. But I bought all the albums he put out from about 1954 to 1964, after which we could hardly afford to buy extras like albums. That is until I finally retired and we moved to Arizona, after which I could hardly contain myself, buying everything I could find that Old Blue Eyes put out. The total is mind-boggling. I thought at one time I had nearly all of them. Not even close. I now have 63 albums, eight of which are multiple disc albums, one of which is a 20-disc compilation of all the songs he recorded for his company, Reprise Records. I think I may have about three-quarters of all the albums he’s done, many of which are no longer available. I own very few of the pre-Capitol records, mainly because I don’t think his voice was very good in those early days. It was just too thin and reedy, sort of the way he was built back then. In the Fifties (the Capitol era) his voice took on that depth of maturity—vocal abuse, cigarettes, and booze—that gave him that distinctive Sinatra style. Of course, he always had a unique talent for vocal timing. But it’s the voice I find so interesting. Then in the Sixties and Seventies when he was really aging and getting fat and still abusing his voice, the quality gets even richer. Even into the Eighties he was still the King as far as I’m concerned. His audience diminished because he wasn’t able to win over many of the younger generations, and the public appearances went down and the recording slowed down. Then in the Nineties, lo and behold, he comes out with Duets I and Duets II, and they sold like hotcakes. Too bad, because they’re more curiosity pieces than quality productions, curiosity over the aging Sinatra and a voice that now sounded very much like a seventy-five-year-old man, one who’d spent the majority of his life smoking and boozing and living dissolutely. Some of the old numbers he tries to do on the two Duets are downright embarrassing. But when he’s good, like on the vast majority of songs he’s done in a lifetime, he’s so good it makes me want to cry for the loss of Frank’s life and talent.
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Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life is the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
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