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Swing and Dance with Frank Sinatra ()

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When Columbia decided to reissue Frank Sinatra's early-'50s albums on CD, they did it right, choosing to expand each of the original albums with bonus tracks and release them at a budget price. Such is the case with Swing and Dance with Frank Sinatra, which is built around an eight-song, 10" record of the same name originally released in 1950 and expanded by ten stylistically related songs from long before and somewhat after the original LP sessions. Although Sinatra's star wasn't shining as brightly in 1950 as it was in the '40s, he was still capable of turning out a charming recording, which is exactly what Swing and Dance was. The CD producers reached back to similar rhythm numbers dating from five years prior to the sessions for the LP, and also from the following year. These selections include six alternate takes that are even more welcome, and all of the material features Sinatra working with arranger/conductor George Siravo, who handled the relative handful of rhythm numbers that Sinatra cut at Columbia Records, so there's a stylistic and sonic unity despite the contents being pulled together from across seven years. The original release was where -- as producer Mitch Miller put it -- the world discovered that Sinatra could swing, and the ten new additions to the original's eight songs are a match in quality for what was originally there. Opening with an outtake of "Saturday Night" (Is the Loneliest Night of the Week)," Sinatra and Siravo never let the listener go, and fans of the singer and his later work for Capitol will find this album a fascinating precursor to that body of music, without a ballad in sight. Although it will never be remembered as one of his masterpieces, it's quite engaging on its own terms -- Siravo's arrangements may not be as lush as Axel Stordahl's, but they're quite good and very enjoyable. This disc is primarily for the devoted, but it's useful in illustrating that even when Sinatra wasn't at the peak of his stardom, he could record some extraordinary music. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine & Bruce Eder, Rovi Hide synopsis

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