Wednesday, August 5, 2015

#40: And the bell goes . . .

If you haven't heard it yet, give yourself a treat and listen to Mark Steyn's Sammy Cahn podcast now. Part two starts off strong with this:

For sheer exhilaration that's pretty hard to top, no? My favorite line might be
Don't know if it's morning, night time, winter or spring
What's the difference?
How perfectly Frank tosses that off.

Will Friedwald calls "Ring-a-Ding Ding" "an almost perfect piece of manufactured Sinatriana" (p 418) and that it is. Frank wanted to kick off his new label with a bang and commissioned Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen to write a song using the Rat Pack catch phrase. (Mind you, you don't have to be a Rat Pack enthusiast to love the song or the LP.) As he does with every track on the album, Frank sings this one like he means it, but with a jazzy, elegant insouciance that makes RDD one of my two or three favorite Sinatra LPs. Johnny Mandel's fabulous, jazzy arrangements surely have something to do with that.

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