A Voice in Time (1939-1952)
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Old material in new packages – that has become one of the prevailing themes in the recording industry. Artists with long and complicated catalogs, spanning competing labels, are a special incentive to the producers of elaborate CD box sets. Witness the latest collection by Frank Sinatra, culled from the four labels he sang for during World War II and the early Cold War years. To whet the consumption of collectors, A Voice in Time includes a pair of previously unreleased alternate takes plus 11 un-issued “airchecks” recorded for radio broadcasts. For more casual listeners, the four-disc set provides a good overview of stage one of Sinatra’s career. A Voice in Time’s material shows the surprising, youthful vulnerability and naïve romanticism of early Sinatra – a far cry from the cocky swagger of his Vegas years. In the 1930s and ‘40s Sinatra represented intimacy and hushed conversation between lovers on the dance floor. In those early years Sinatra usually stood in front of smoothly polished big bands. For postmodern ears, some of the best tracks on A Voice in Time include a jive-singing vocal quartet that provides a pointedly hip, streetwise counterpoint to the romantic lyrics Sinatra sang.