Frank Sinatra – Swing Along With Me

The only album Frank Sinatra released with Billy May on the Reprise label, 1961’s Swing Along With Me is so good, he didn’t need to do another.

Comparing the recent Mobile Fidelity reissue with the original release proves startling because, immediately, it reveals how rushed Sinatra sounds on the original. This is a guy who has a cab waiting for him outside. Also, on the original pressing, Sinatra resembles the typical “Shouty Man” that blasts his lungs about incredible offers on TV advertisements; such is LP’s well-lit upper midrange effect. Mobile Fidelity’s version issue calms the great man, unveiling the playful Sinatra.

Now, with Ol’ Blue Eyes’ delivery during “I Never Knew,” you can almost hear his eyebrow raise and see his half smile appear. And on this track on the original, the orchestra overheats—an engine run so hot, it melts into a combustive blob. By contrast, the reissue offers superb instrumental separation wherein the saxophones have texture and the trumpets a grizzled grain. Moreover, the bass never dominates, and new details emerge. For example, during the instrumental break, there’s a brief piano solo wrought with lightness and delicacy that, honestly, I hardly noticed on the original. I was too busy tensing my shoulders in reaction to the rough mix.

Tensing, too, on the original, is the soundstage that, on “Have You Met Miss Jones?,” gives the impression of an orchestra falling over itself and before being crammed into a closet. Mobile Fidelity’s 180g LP reorganizes the backing orchestra amidst a space the size of a roomy aircraft hanger; the soundstage expands, allowing each instrument to not only find its place but express itself fully enough to enhance dynamic contrast ratios.

Along with the equally superb The Concert Sinatra, chalk this up as another splendid entry in Mobile Fidelity’s definitive Sinatra reissue catalog. —Paul Rigby

Mobile Fidelity, 180g LP