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Learning to Love Sinatra, Vegas-Style

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Learning to Love Sinatra, Vegas-Style

Learning to Love Sinatra, Vegas-Style

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In the 1950s and ‘60s, Frank Sinatra helped turn Las Vegas into the entertainment capital of the world, but our music critic Tom Terrell never connected with the power of Sinatra's performance. That is, until he heard a new boxed set of Sinatra in Vegas.

Now, Tom Terrell is singing a different tune.

TOM TERRELL: When I was in my 20s, I would always roll my eyes whenever one of my boys would say that we all end up being our fathers. Now that I'm in my middle ages, I ain't scoffing no more. It's bad enough that I've become Popski's spitting image, but really trips me out is my newfound love for this.

(Soundbite of song, “I Get a Kick Out of You”)

Mr. FRANK SINATRA (Singer): (Singing) I get no kick from champagne. Mere alcohol, it doesn't move me at all. Tell me why should it be true, that I get a kick out of you?

TERRELL: When I was younger, I couldn't understand why my father, the hippest black man I've ever known, dug him so much. Now, when I listen to Sinatra and the Count Basie Orchestra swinging to heaven with "Fly Me to the Moon," I know.

(Soundbite of song, “Fly Me to the Moon”)

Mr. SINATRA: (Singing) Fly me to the moon. Let me swing up there with those stars. Let me see what spring is like on Jupiter and Mars. In other words, hold my hand. In other words, baby, kiss me. Fill my heart with song.

TERRELL: When it came out back in '66, “Sinatra at The Sands,” featuring the Count Basie Orchestra and arrangements by Quincy Jones, became my father's favorite Frank Sinatra album.

Popski would definitely flip his wig over The Sands set included in the new Sinatra Vegas boxed set. It's got different versions of the same tunes and most of them, like "My Kind of Town," totally smoke the originals.

(Soundbite of song, “My Kind of Town”)

Mr. SINATRA: (Singing) This is my kind of town, Chicago is. My kind of town, Chicago is. My kind of razzmatazz and it has all that jazz. And each time I leave, Chicago is.

TERRELL: Each one of “Sinatra Vegas's” five discs features a complete concert. Disc one was recorded at The Sands in November 1961, disc two, The Sands, January to February 1966, disc three, Caesar's Palace, March 1982, disc four, The Gold Nugget, April 1987, and disc five is a DVD filmed at Caesar's Palace, May 1978.

I learned three things from “Sinatra Vegas” that everybody else in America but me have always known. One, Frank Sinatra is one of the great entertainers of all time. Two, every tune he sang, major or minor, he lived. And three, Frank Sinatra made you feel that his songs were your stories, too.

It's all there in "The Gal That Got Away." Damn. I wish Popski was still around to hear this.

(Soundbite of song, “The Gal That Got Away”)

SIEGEL: The boxed set is called Sinatra Vegas. Our reviewer is Tom Terrell.

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