Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Would Be In Love Anyway

I have more Frank Sinatra records than anyone I know, but I didn't have this until Monday - even though it's been months since Her Allyness posted one of these songs (and longer still since she first mentioned the LP). It came up on the iPo in a quiet moment the other day when Mrs H was sitting listening and she said 'I've never heard that before. That's lovely' - which reminded me that indeed it was, and sent me, finally, off up the Amazon, and here we are.

The album's narrated by a smalltown guy whose wife has left him and their two boys (Michael & Peter) and taken off on a train for the big city - we're not told why; there's a suggestion he may be to blame. The songs, by Jake Holmes and Bob 'Four Seasons' Gaudio, are a 'series of brief lyrical snapshots that read like letters or soliloquies' (AllMusic); it is the ordinariness of the subject matter that really breaks your heart.

There's an academic interpretation of the album as an allegory for Sinatra's relationship with his recording audience - that by 1969 he was seen as a tired old Vegas-based Greatest Hits machine, out of touch with the Woodstock times, that they had left him and he wondered if he'd ever get them back again. Well, that's interesting, but I'm not sure I buy it: Sinatra was still a huge recording star at the end of the 60s - '69 had been the year of 'My Way', after all.

No. Me, I'm hearing it as an extension of 'A Man Alone' and a reference right back to what the other side of the ring-a-ding-ding Frank had always been doing - singing songs for and of the lonely, baby.

Belated thanks A x

Frank Sinatra - 'Michael & Peter' (1970)
Frank Sinatra - 'What A Funny Girl (You Used To Be)' (1970)


  1. it's a huge favourite round here at the same time as being almost impossible to listen to most of the time. thank god for the vinyl where there's at least the break to get your breath back as you flip sides. i play it on the ipo on long train rides for maximum heart wrenching.

    glad it finally found you

  2. Thanks darl. I printed this all off and read it the other day, too - another tip on delay. S'a cracker.

  3. It's on been on my Sinatrat to do list for years. I'll put it on the Christmas or birthday list..

    My Top 5 Frank albums would be..

    Live at The Sands - just perfect.Always number 1

    The rest change with whatever mood I'm in

    Songs for Swinging Lovers
    In the Wee Small Hours
    Jolly Christmas From Frank Sinatra

  4. Yes! And the whole thing last just 33 and a bit minutes.

    It's a good 5 Mond. If you like the swingin' stuff plus big soaring ballads and his voice at its absolute peak, Come Fly With Me go get.

  5. A Sinatra to do list? Next to you Mondo I feel like a rank amateur.

  6. I can't believe I missed Cycles off my list. It's Top 3 material. Yeah, I've got Fly With Me, Swing With Me, Swinging Affair, the live trio in France (where his voice cracks on Night and Day) and Great Songs From Great Britain which gets overlooked too often plus a few others. Piley saw him live once..

  7. Oh and the Jobim album's top 5 too

  8. The Jobim album's Essential.

  9. I am embarrassingly unfamiliar with his records from this period so your post sent us directly from preschool to the vinyl bins where I rescued a few things... one was Cycles so maybe I am on the right track?

    About to get them iPod ready. Thanks for putting me on the right path once again x.

  10. 'Cycles' has some wonderful stuff on it - Rain In My Heart, Little Green Apples, the title track; also some stuff I just can't listen to - the Joni Mitchell cover especially! This was the start of his 'going contemporary' period...That's a good find in a vinyl bin though G x

  11. Well I purchased Watertown. Wow. I can't believe I'd never heard it before. Sits alongside my Scott Walker rather nicely.

  12. Its very Jimmy Webb as well. Wow again.

  13. I'm of the opinion that Gaudio is one of the most underrated of songwriters. The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore for gods sake....that alone is equal to anything by anybody...

  14. Interesting post here on the album:

  15. Well that's an even more outlandish theory! He's certainly mistaken to suggest 'Lady Day' (the bonus track on the reissue) gives us a 'clue' that she's dead - it has no connection with the 'Watertown songs' at all; it's about Billie Holiday.

    Simon, if you haven't already, you must check out 'Frank Sinatra Has A Cold' (see the link from my reply to Ally above) - could be swell train reading for ya.

  16. Yeah, I'm not sure I buy it, and anybody with a slightest interest in this kind of thing would know who Lady Day was. But never mind.

    I've just checked out his age, Gaudio was all of 28 when he did this. The Four Seasons seem to be of a different age to the likes of Dylan or The Beatles, and yet they were contemparies. Yet compare this to what McCartney was doing at the time and Macca's sound like a young man, whereas this sounds like somebody ancient...Of course Frank adds most of that.

    Scott Walker was about the same age at this time too...

  17. bloody extra tracks. down with them. the lp is story with an end. what the hell has lady got to do with anythink. oooh it makes my blood boil. (goes for small sit down )

  18. I wish to be associated with the remarks of the previous speaker and that.

  19. I love how the opening bassline is the melody of Love and Marriage..

  20. I live in Watertown!

    Watertown MA, just outside Boston.

    Is it the same place?

  21. Blimey. It must be. Oo-er.

    (I've always imagined you in a Manhattan loft apartment Lee...).

  22. Ive only recently got this CD, given by a mate to me.
    I had itunes on random play while working, and this song came up - wow!
    I now understand the power and emotion of Frank!
    Its a touching and magical song, and i dont think any other type of delivery other than Franks could have played it so well... a truly amazing album.
    I would like to hear more albums with thsi feel...can anyone suggest some ?
    Andrew B

  23. Thanks for popping in Andrew.

    All of the Sinatra albums from this period have something to recommend them and many contain terrific performances; unfortunately they can also be a bit patchy.

    You might try 'A Man Alone' (all songs by Rod McKuen) and 'Cycles' for more Sinatra-goes-contemporary stuff; and 'Ol' Blue Eyes Is Back' has at least four crackers on it.

    Better than any of these, though so understated in comparison with 'Watertown', is the album with Jobim - an entirely faultless masterpiece.

    For more 'heartbreak' albums, go back to the classic Capitol years of the 50s and 'In The Wee Small Hours' 'No-One Cares' and 'Sinatra Sings Only For The Lonely'- essential.

    When you're steeped in them, try a curio - 'She Shot Me Down' (1981) the same vibe revisited in old, old age, his voice pretty much gone, but all of his ability to tell the story of a song remaining. I find it very moving, but I'm prepared to admit it might be an acquired taste.


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