Recorded January 15-17, 1962

Arrangements: Gordon Jenkins

Conducted by Gordon Jenkins

Engineer: Milton Tasker Putnam

Original Release: October, 1962

All Alone - 1962

AUDIO SAMPLES:

All clips of “All Alone” on this page fall within the freely available 90-second sample clip available to the public on iTunes.  Click “VIEW,” then “View in iTunes” to access the 90-second clips.

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Original R-1007 A1 mono LP

AUDIO SAMPLES:

“All Alone”

-- advertisement, Billboard, October 6, 1962

...and so we reach the orange-covered stepchild of the early Sinatra/Reprise years: All Alone. 

Not only did it not sell well, not breaking the top 20 in the USA, but it apparently did not receive mono remastering and re-numbering in the WB mono years, was not remixed for CD release, was not reissued as part of the EOTC campaign, was not included in the recent SHM re-issue series by Universal in Japan, and is not heavily represented in Sinatra/Reprise compilations, all of which is our (the fans) loss, as this is yet another wonderful Sinatra/Jenkins album, full of loneliness, longing, and inspired music making.


From an audio standpoint, there’s the original mono mix and the original stereo mix, and nothing more.  Also, it should be noted that this album, like Ring-a-Ding Ding and a handful of other Sinatra/Reprise titles, was recorded on half-inch tape using AME (Ampex Master Equalization) atop the industry-standard NAB EQ curve, the result being a somewhat “hard” overall tonality (perhaps exacerbated by an overly aggressive use of a limiter on the vocal) and greatly increased distortion in many string passages, all of which is our (the audio fans) loss, as the distortion is downright crunchy in spots, detracting somewhat from the intended lush beauty of the string writing.

Thanks, as usual, to Bob F (sinatrafamily.com and stevehoffman.tv) for his encyclopedic knowledge and his willingness to share said knowledge.  His contributions are invaluable to these pages.

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Original R-1007 A4 mono LP

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Original R9-1007 A1 stereo LP, courtesy “blackie”

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Later FS-1007 1D stereo LP, courtesy “bozburn”

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12-song Japanese P-7722 stereo LP, courtesy “floweringtoilet”

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12-song 1992 CD, mastered by Lee Herschberg, courtesy Simon A.

The Cover Art

The cover was a detail from a painting that hung in Sinatra’s home for many years, and was apparently a personal favorite.  The artist’s last name is Weber.

The Would-be Title Track:  Come Waltz with Me

Maybe Sinatra or somebody on his team was not enamored with the song, or maybe not enamored with the idea of re-doing a new-ish song that was also picked up by Steve Lawrence, but whatever the reason, “Come Waltz with Me” seemed to live a fleeting life as a potential title song for this Jenkins/Sinatra collaboration.  In the end, only one take was recorded, and that not until the last song at the last session, and, as evidenced by the acetate labels reproduced above, the tune was evidently out of the running for inclusion on the LP before the final track sequence was even settled.  That fact that the opening and closing songs act as very deliberate bookends, both making prominent and intentioned use of a soprano at key moments in their closing bars, makes me even more skeptical as to how seriously this song was considered.  Where would it have been placed on the LP?  Giving this song the opening spot -- where it clearly would belong, based on the lyrics, which are an invitation, of sorts -- would have greatly diminished the mnemonic potency of the soprano’s role on the album.  To place it anywhere else would have completely broken the unified style of the remainder of the album. 


Personally, I feel that the song was a bad fit for an album so full of lament and sadness, so I agree with the decision to axe the tune from the roster.


Just as Warner-Pioneer in Japan was the first to release two tracks from the SINATRA AND STRINGS sessions in (I think) the late 70s during an LP reissue series, so here they released “Come Waltz with Me” from the ALL ALONE sessions, and as with the STRINGS tracks, for some odd reason, the stereo mixes are reduced to something very nearly monophonic.  Here is a brief clip that includes the tail end of the LP clip (thank you, SHTV’s “flowingtoilet”) and the same passage from the only other mastering, the one first released on the 1991 CD, SINATRA SINGS THE SONGS OF VAN HEUSEN AND CAHN (thank you, Bob F), mastered by Lee Herschberg.   Click for audio: ComeWaltzClipJapanLP-CahnCD.wav

Return of the Humongous Concert Bass Drum!

Did you catch it?  If not, play that clip one more time, and focus on the fade out of the last note -- the very end -- on the CD version.  There is some serious low frequency content there, courtesy of a large bass drum along the lines of the one shown at right,

implying, then, that there were two percussionists on this track:  One playing concert bass drum, one playing concert snare. 

Some long-time followers of these pages may recall that years ago I wrote a minor tome to my love of the concert bass drum’s

use on the FRANK SINATRA SINGS FOR ONLY THE LONELY album, a sound that is largely inaudible (or at least very

subdued and essentially inconsequential) on the mono mix of that album, but that shines through to glorious effect on the

excellent ORIGINAL 1958 stereo mix.  Good to see its return here, and at a stylistically appropriate time, even, as a bit of an

homage to the Viennese waltz style.


Enough beating ‘round the drum.  Let’s get to some comparison clips:

Original, high-end album cover frame


Follow-up version, slightly lower in cost,

available at your nearby Brookstone store and participating K-Mart locations.

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Original R-1007 B2 mono LP

AUDIO SAMPLES:

“Oh, How I Miss You Tonight”

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Original R-1007 B3 mono LP

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Original R9-1007 B2 stereo LP, courtesy “blackie”

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Later FS-1007 1C stereo LP, courtesy “bozburn”

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12-song Japanese P-7722 stereo LP, courtesy “floweringtoilet”

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12-song 1992 CD, mastered by Lee Herschberg, courtesy Simon A.

AUDIO SAMPLES:

All clips of “All Alone” on this page fall within the freely available 90-second sample clip available to the public on iTunes.  Click “VIEW,” then “View in iTunes” to access the 90-second clips.

Conclusions:

•The mono version definitely handles the 'vapor voice' on the first and last tracks in a way that is more effective than on the stereo version.

•On the whole, the mono is very "meh."  The tone is a little duller than on the stereo masterings I've heard, and when there's AME crunch distortion, it's always smeered over the entire sound, rather than being (often) only left or only right in stereo.

•Where the mono errs a bit on having a carpet that's too plush, the stereo mix leans more toward being a hardwood floor.  It would be nice to have a sound that's just a pleasant, soft carpet, without getting into a mushy 3" shag affair.  The mono's a little too low-end kooshy.

•I guess on the whole, the mono is "pleasant enough" with a couple of spots that are superior.

•Really, the stereo versions are not much more than "okay," but they do sound a little more free/open/bright (often too bright) than the mono versions.

•The Japanese LP has the bass somewhat panned in, narrowing the image a bit.

•All things considered, I think I'd put the mono at a 6 out of 10 for sound, stereo LPs a 6.5, and the CD version at about 7.  The thing that puts the CD above the others for me is the clarity of the bass and the stone-quiet background, which is played to good effect.  The bass doesn't sound goosed or artificial, it just sounds appropriately full to me, and helps to warm the tone a bit.

•Like Swing Along with Me, this title could really benefit from a remix done by somebody with good ears and sensitivity to the style of music.


This is another release that was not served well by the United recording style, which is too bad, as it's a beautiful album, musically.


(Adapted from this online post)

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Circa 1986 FS-1007 WW-2 LP, pressed at Capitol’s Winchester plant

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Circa 1986 FS-1007 WW-3 LP, manufactured at Capitol’s Winchester plant