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Reprise: The Very Good Years
Frank Sinatra
Reprise: The Very Good Years
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Rock, Broadway & Vocalists
  •  Track Listings (20) - Disc #1

A 20-track collection from the Reprise years that tries to cover too much ground. Very Good Years sweeps from the early 1960s to 1979's "New York New York," focusing on the most obvious Sinatra standards. The watchword her...  more »


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A 20-track collection from the Reprise years that tries to cover too much ground. Very Good Years sweeps from the early 1960s to 1979's "New York New York," focusing on the most obvious Sinatra standards. The watchword here isn't art but populism. That's not a problem, really--but it means that serious fans (or those aspiring to be) will be better served elsewhere. It would be a fine introduction for the casual music lover, but so would any decent collection. For a compact Reprise-era sampler, try either this one or something from the Greatest Hits series. --Gavin McNett

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Reviewed on 11/11/2010...
A great collection of "old blue eyes" best song. Many of his best records in one place. Five stars for sure. JLM

CD Reviews

The Best is Yet to Come
Jon Warshawsky | San Diego, CA USA | 11/19/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you're contemplating buying a Sinatra allbum, it would be difficult to go wrong with this one -- most of what is included here really is among the best of Sinatra's work at Reprise. To some extent, however, this represents the most commercial of his later recordings, which means that many artistic highlights are excluded.On the plus side, the 1963 re-recording of 'I've Got You Under My Skin' is sensational, even if the 1956 Capitol original is often mentioned as the best popular song of the century. 'Summer Wind', from the 'Strangers in the Night' album of 1966 is perfect, but the title track -- included here because it was a huge hit when released -- is schmaltz. Sinatra said he hated it when he recorded it and rarely if ever performed it. In contrast, 'Wave' (not included here) recorded with Antonio Carlos Jobim, rated as one of Sinatra's personal favorites and it is a piece of vocal nirvana -- but it was less successful than 'Strangers' and so is omitted. A magnficent 1967 collaboration with Jobim ('The Girl from Ipanema', 'Corcovado') is inexplicably not represented here.'Luck Be A Lady,' a Billy May arrangement that originally appeared in the Reprise Repertory version of 'Guys and Dolls', is one of the most exhuberant Sinatra recordings ever. It swings, and the vocals are a tour de force -- when he sings that 'a lady doesn't wander all over the room', listen to the inflection and the long lines without obtrusive breathing. Astounding.'Night and Day' and 'All or Nothing at All' are Sinatra standards that he recorded for Columbia, Capitol and here Reprise. While the Capitol version of 'Night and Day' is one of Sinatra's best recordings of all time, this version is especially stately and grand and worth hearing. 'The Theme from New York, New York' and 'It Was A Very Good Year' may be the best here, because they are not remakes, and the deepened baritone of 1965 FS ('Very Good Year') and the coarsened 1979 version ('NY NY') serve these tracks well.Overall, some great material. Any collection will overlook significant recordings, but even the listener who owns 50 or 60 Sinatra albums would find occasion to play this one. If this album is your introduction to Sinatra, consider Reprise's 'The Very Best of Frank Sinatra' instead -- mostly similar material, but with 'Wave', 'Witchcraft' and some great early Reprise material with Johnny Mandel ('A Foggy Day') and high octane Count Basie ('Nice Work if You Can Get It'). Also, I cannot recommend urgently enough that you consider a 'best of' set from Capitol and, once you are completely hooked, the 'best of' set from Columbia. There is probably no more perfect musical experience than listening to Sinatra singing Cole Porter in the evening, drink in hand, through your favorite speakers. If you have not yet experienced the original concept albums -- well, then the best is yet to come."
Wonderful, diverse collection showcasing Sinatra's greatness
Joel L. Gandelman | San Diego, CA USA | 08/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Why was Frank Sinatra considered one of the 20th century's greatest singers (some say THE). Sinatra Reprise The Very Good Years is one of the key Sinatra CDs that'll show you precisely why. Sinatra fans will love this collection. And young people who are interested in singing-non rock (in his final years Sinatra's biggest fans included some of the rock's biggest names, who publically attested to his influence and their admiration for him) can find in this recording not only a good role musical model but proof (as rock's Bruce Springsteen now also clearly shows with The Rising) that a teen idol CAN age, create, innovate and wear well musically. Talent doesn't evaporate at age 30 or 40. The 20 tracks on this CD are somewhat unusual since they're incredibly diverse, include some re-makes of his earlier Capitol hits and even a "live" performance in front of an audience. Usually you can't find a collection that gives you the studio and live recordings in one. This CD's songs reflect the 60s/70s/and-yes-80s Sinatra, the show-stopping singer who had survived being a washed-up teen idol and had been born again in the early 50s as a "swinger" using only the best arrangers and orchestras at Capitol Records. By the 60s/70s and 80s Sinatra had managed to pierce the rock charts and get extensive radio play as many of his easy listening/jazz contemporaries vanished from the airwaves, not due to lack of talent but due to musical/demographic changes. But Sinatra's work, talent and song selection were so overpowering that his songs not only were played but SOLD while still getting critical rave reviews. My favorites here include the often-imitated theme from New York New York, ending in his final sock-em chorus where with gleeful pizazz he elongates the word "annnnnnnnnnnd"; My Kind of Town (Sinatra's zestful ode to Chicago, from one of his films); I've Got You Under My Skin (a slightly inferior remake of the1950s Capitol records version with the same lengendarily explosive Nelson Riddle arrangement); Strangers in the Night (a song he didn't really like and barely sung in concert); My Way (matched only by Elvis' unique but equally rousing version); That's Life (an almost harsh 70s-style rock-blues influenced number that he almost shouts); the Lady is a Tramp (Sinatra gave Cole Porter standards new life). There are many others. Fans of Tv's "Married With Children" will find his remake of Love and Marriage, the theme song on that show. But there is one song on this CD that I think is WORTH THE WHOLE COST of the collection: The Summer Wind. Here he returned to his 1950s innovative roots, producing an original version of this song artistically satisfying as it builds to its emotional show-stopping conclusion....with Sinatra then punctuating it with a final, unusually low, soft phrase. It's a homerun.Sinatra perfected this kind of singing. The Reprise label was his own and, as usual, he used state-of-the-art and only-the-best musicians and arrangers. STRONGLY recommended for Sinatra fans, young people who want to learn why Sinatra was considered great, and for young people interested in learning this kind of singing or using some of its techniques in their own music. You cannot learn from a better master than Sinatra -- and he has left a ton of great CD "instruction books" behind."