On today’s album, American crooner icon Frank Sinatra makes his debut with the 1954 album “Swing Easy!”. This album wasn’t found on any Top 100/500 list, but I had to include it for three simple reasons. First, my initial collection only included one Sinatra album, which seemed insufficient given his massive influence on a generation of fans around the world. Second, I added this album in contrast to another which will come up subsequently, for comparisons of style and approach. And third, and perhaps most importantly, I don’t think I could look my Dad in the eyes if I had to explain to him why “The Chairman of the Board” only had one album on my list.
“Swing Easy!” proved to be everything I hoped and expected it would be. A consistently upbeat and up-tempo collection of standards, Frank is at his dashing best, joined by a ~15-piece ensemble of horns & rhythm, conducted by Nelson Riddle. Instantly recognizable are tracks like “Jeepers Creepers” and “Just One of Those Things”. If any song best represents this collection and the timeframe it was released, it is the classic “Get Happy”. At this point, America was moving beyond the dark times of World War II and the Korean War and was in a relative state of growth, simplicity, and exuberance. One of the last major releases before the sound of mainstream rock and roll began to emerge, this collection of Sinatra tracks exemplifies his dominant run on American charts in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
In relation to many of the artists of the time, Frank lived a long and relatively happy and successful life, and through all of his ups and downs in life and as a performer, his reputation as the world’s premier crooner stands unchallenged to this day. Frank Sinatra and his music has a permanent place on my playlist and in my heart for obvious and not-so-obvious reasons. When I’m in the mood for something elegant, sophisticated, confident, and figuratively at the head of the table, there just isn’t a better choice.