A Voice in Time: 1939-1952 by Frank Sinatra
2Difficult as it is to believe for those who only know him for the Las Vegas years, there was a time when Frank Sinatra was the most fuckable teen idol in America. A Voice in Time concentrates on that glory period, starting with the emergence of the Chairman of the Board in 1939 and ending in 1952, right before Elvis Aaron Presley made him instantly irrelevant to anyone under 30.
The four CD set starts with Ol' Blue Eyes toiling away as a hired hand with big-band leaders like Harry James and Tommy Dorsey. If you never missed an opportunity to dress up for Gin and Sin at the old Niagara, you'll find plenty to love on the time-capsule kickoff disc, "The Big Band Years", which bubbles over with woozy horn swells and Sinatra's double-honeyed vocals. For a crash course in what the poshest supper clubs of America sounded like as the world prepared for war for a second time, head to 1939's retro-dreamy "All or Nothing at All".
The brash and brassy sound that would make Sinatra famous is already in place on Disc 2, "Teen Idol". Here's betting that he got more than one obsessed bobbysoxer reaching for her first Marlboro when he crooned "Just watch the smoke rings rise in the air" in "Dream (When You're Feeling Blue)".
By the time "The Great American Songbook" and "The Sound of Things to Come" have played out, it's clearer than Bohemian crystal why Sinatra owned the world for nearly a decade and a half. Considering he scored over a hundred Top 30 hits between 1939 and 1952, it's no shocker that there's little filler in this handsomely packaged boxed set. Add rare photographs, reproductions of memorabilia, and liner notes from a cast that starts with his daughter Nancy, and you've got a collection that will please even the most demanding of Sinatra completists.