January 23, 2015

What good is a fantasy about the swingin’ recreational life in Palm Springs if you haven’t got a soundtrack to back it? In a mid-century modern lifestyle the Chairman of the Board (isn’t that a great pic?) has to play a major role, dontcha think? So gather up your friends, make yourself comfortable with a martini, a mai tai, or a highball, and let FS set the mood:

10. My Kind of Town (1964) – Back in the late ’70s when Macs Two Lounge in North Billerica, MA used to be a regular bar/lounge, this song was on the jukebox next to the likes of Heart, Bob Seger, and Steve Miller, and my brother Mark and I would get a kick out of playing this song just to get the crowd wondering who on God’s green earth put that damned song on. It sounded good then, still does now.

9. Come Dance With Me (1959) – A swaggering Sinatra performance backed by a kick-ass Billy May arrangement. I think Billy always brought that extra bit of swagger out in Frank.

8. Fly Me To The Moon (1964) – Sinatra singin’. Accompanied by Count Basie. Arranged by Quincy Jones. With a trio like that how can you not get a swingin’ performance?

7. Nice and Easy (1960) – Is there a song that fits the carefree Palm Springs lifestyle better than this? A Nelson Riddle arrangement, very classy. If Billy May brought out Sinatra’s swagger and Gordon Jenkins Frank’s melancholy, Riddle brought out the classic Sinatra sound. All did the Chairman right in their own unique way.

6. I’ve Got You Under My Skin (1956) – Probably the best performance of Frank’s career, and in my humble view one of the top five pop music recordings of all time. A real kick-ass Nelson Riddle arrangement that he absolutely rolls with and kills. Listen for how Riddle uses the strings to build a tension that is only released by that cat blowin’ the trombone and tearing the house down. I put it at #6 on this list because I wouldn’t want my party to stop while everyone listens with their mouths open in amazement. You don’t want to break the mood, right?

5. Witchcraft (1957) – I mean, how does this song not make you think of swinging parties on the patio? This spell-binding, finger-snapping Sinatra performance conjures up three words: taste, class, and appreciation.

4. Summer Wind (1966) – Dig the organ and saxophone (tenor, alto, baritone) opening – it’s really inventive. Whenever I hear this song I’m camping with Jim Connell and a bunch of drunks up at the Saco River – I think they played this song a hundred times. But it’s still a classic sixties tune that just smacks of “nice and easy” Palm Springs afternoons.

3. Strangers In The Night (1966) – Lots of people don’t know it, but many of the musicians backing Frank on this tune come from the same bunch of “Wrecking Crew” musicians utilized by Phil Spector and so many other artists on more ’60s hits then you could ever imagine.

2. Come Fly With Me (1958) – I mean, how much more swingin’ can you get if you were a Pal Springs jet-setter back in the late fifties / early sixties? What a great Billy May arrangement! Whenever I hear this tune I think back to the shows the Masonic Lodge I belong to put on back in the 80s. It was my brother Dave who got me and my friend Paul during the words “beat the birds” to make an arm motion like we were, well, beating birds. To this day it just comes naturally to me.

1. That’s Life (1966) – That rockin’ organ intro is the perfect backdrop for this ultimate swingin’ sixties tune perfect for the highball generation. This ballsy Ernie Freeman arrangement brings Frank as close to letting loose as he’d ever get.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:44 | Comments (6)
6 Comments »
  1. Great pic.

    I would have swapped ‘My Kind of Town’ with ‘Luck Be a Lady’, myself.

    Comment by Dave Richard — January 23, 2015 @ 10:57 am


  2. That’s Vegas, baby. Ain’t no gambling in Palm Springs!

    Comment by The Great White Shank — January 23, 2015 @ 11:24 pm


  3. I need to send you a copy of A Man Alone, which is an album that my friend Rod McKuen wrote for Frank. They were very good friends. I have quite a few FS cd’s and love listening to them while sipping on a Tall Blond martini.

    Comment by Jana — January 24, 2015 @ 6:47 am


  4. Yo, bro! Guys and Dolls (Luck Be a Lady) was set in New York, and ‘My Kind of Town’ was in Robin and the 7 Hoods, based in Chicago.

    Neither has anything to do with Palm Springs.

    And I still like Luck Be a Lady better.

    Comment by Dave Richard — January 24, 2015 @ 7:46 am


  5. Yeah, I don’t care about those kinds of details. It’s all about the feeling of the songs. And besides, it’s my blog – if you want to submit your own FS Palm Springs list send it along and I’ll post. 🙂

    Comment by The Great White Shank — January 25, 2015 @ 10:59 am


  6. That’s a great album, Jana. I went out on YouTube and searched for Sinatra A Man Alone and heard a couple of those tunes. Not swing’ enough for “Palm Springs Lounge Lizard”, but perfect for what I’m thinking of for my next music collection, “Mood Indigo”, which will be more quieter and melancholy tunes from the same period as PSLL. Perfect for late nights on the patio. I’m thinking instrumentals, Frank, Dinah Washington, etc. etc.

    Comment by The Great White Shank — January 25, 2015 @ 11:02 am


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