Frank Sinatra
FRANK SINATRA, "A Voice in Time (1939-1952)" (RCA Victor) *** 1/2

The 80 songs and four discs of "Frank Sinatra: A Voice in Time (1939-1952)" take a musical documentary-esque look at Frank Sinatra's rise to fame.

There's no commentary — it's purely a musical album. But it doubles as entertainment and history, preserving the time periods and cultural atmosphere of America during those years in the process of telling the history of Sinatra's career.

It also includes previously unissued radio transcriptions and alternate studio takes.

The album starts with "The Big Band Years," which includes songs Sinatra recorded with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey's bands.

"Teen Idol" has some really fun radio spots — some that include a radio announcer and screaming, squealing bobbysoxers.

"The Great American Songbook" and "The Sound of Things To Come" round out the last two discs.

While the studio work has been restored and remastered for high-quality sound, the recordings are nonetheless from that time period, and the album preserves the music as it was. Moving from disc to disc, there's a noticeable shift in recording quality as technology improved throughout the years, which is kind of fun, lending a nostalgic quality to the older recordings.

Frank Sinatra is an icon of American music, and this CD has a lot of appeal as it musically tracks his rise to fame.


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