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on November 15, 2011
I'm reviewing the superb DELUXE 2-CD box edition with all the trimmings.

Until now, you had to buy from either the Capitol or the Reprise catalog. Sinatra collections were one or the other. If you wanted to introduce his music to someone, you had to get one of each or skip an era. You want "New New, York," "My Way," or "That's Life"? You're going to have to lose "Come Fly with Me," "Witchcraft," and "One for My Baby." Two different labels; two different catalogs. FINALLY, they got together so here you have Sinatra from 1953 ("I've got the World on a String") to "New York, New York."

So, we finally have a definitive Sinatra 101 compilation. 23 tracks. Icing on the cake: an entire live concert from the Capitol era. I might be wrong about this but this June 9th 1957 concert might be the only one we have of Sinatra performing live with Nelson Riddle; yes, they went on tour. To Seattle.

The first CD is as described: classic Sinatra and well chosen. "Night and Day," for instance. The obvious choice would be the Capitol swinging version. Here, the choice was the later, slower, Don Costa arrangement from the 1961 "Sinatra and Strings" album (Reprise).

The liner notes are by Frank Sinatra Jr. They're sharp, insightful, and written by a musician who knows this music. Example: "'Fly Me to the Moon': A complete misnomer! The correct title of this popular standard is 'In Other Words." But nobody refers to it by that name." That's sort of important. Sinatra Jr. has a lot to say about this music. Lots of perspective.

The packaging in the Deluxe Edition is exemplary, tasteful, retrained, and appropriate. Someone is making sure Sinatra's music is presented decently. The use of blue is a no-brainer but the use of blue foil lettering and the layout of this release is a thrill. It's like they're serving up class. The box feels and looks suave. The box lid pulls up and was a minor nightmare to pry up - a little too tight. (Right - like that's why I bought this.) CDs are in separate cardboard sleeves, like mini-LPs. There's no plastic here, at all. This is the real stuff - paper and cardboard. First class design. Bravo, somebody.

Five square photos of Sinatra that cover the years the music recorded during are a nice addition - but this is an extra; I'm not sure what to do with them.

I have to apologise for another reviewer who didn't see the point of a live concert performance by Sinatra. That reviewer actually wrote he didn't like live recordings and so opted for the 1-CD release of "The Best of the Best."

That reviewer has my sympathy because the live 1957 concert is astonishing. Sinatra is in his Capitol years prime. The sound quality is wonderful - this doesn't sound like a crappy "historic" bootleg. Sinatra is SO relaxed. He just flows through the quieter material and digs into the livelier stuff. Nelson Riddle and Sinatra's pianist, Bill Miller, are there with him. Live. This is a good as it gets - this is as good he HE gets. These aren't studio recordings. The same arrangements and musicians but now they've settled into the music. The live performance, a full hour long, is reason alone to justify this release. I wasn't about to buy the same recordings again. Even if it's in the latest digital/laser-powered/photon-enhanced format, there's no reason for ME to grab everything that says "Frank Sinatra" on the cover.

But this, this is wonderful. If you're just getting into Sinatra, sure, buy the single CD release. If you're already a resident of Sinatraville, then buy the Deluxe Edition - they made it just for YOU!
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on November 16, 2011
Dear Music Appreciators,

I think Ol' Blue Eyes would appreciate it if we kept things short and sweet, so here's the thing - if ya don't own a Sinatra compilation yet, just buy this one already.

If ya do own one already, then buy this one anyway.

This one has all the best songs from both record labels together for the first time, and that's something worth singin' about.

Look, anytime ya buy a compilation record of a heavily compiled artist (especially when it's one of the most important popular singers in the history of recorded music) ya gotta make sure there's something about the record that makes it different or better than all the other compilations that have already been released.

The union of all the best songs from both record labels is what makes this one worth having.

And it helps that these original, remastered versions all sound great - they seem to jump out of the speakers and fill the room, the car, the headphones (wherever you are) with class, romance, and a little something that I like to call "instant atmosphere."

Buy this, and add some atmosphere to your life.

Sincerely,

Constant Listener
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon November 15, 2011
When you take a look at Frank Sinatra's long and prolific recording career the numbers are simply staggering. Frank had his first big hit as lead vocalist of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in 1940 with "I'll Never Smile Again". Sinatra would go solo just a couple of years later. Over the next four decades Frank would amass an astonishing total of 145 hit singles including such memorable hits as "The Lady Is A Tramp", "Come Fly With Me", "Strangers In the Night" and of course his signature tune "My Way". Now for the very first time Frank's most popular sides from his salad days at Capitol have been combined with all of those great 1960's hits at Reprise. The result is an impressive 23 track single disc offering simply entitled "Sinatra: Best of the Best". I suspect that this one is going to be a very popular holiday and birthday gift for quite some time to come.

After a decade at Columbia Records Frank Sinatra made the move to Capitol in the spring of 1953. Most Sinatra afficianados will argue that he did his finest work while at Capitol. "Sinatra: Best of the Best" offers up more than a dozen of these memorable tunes many of which were among the biggest hits of the 1950's. Enjoy once again great hits like "Young-At-Heart", "All The Way" and "Love and Marriage" from 1955 which younger listeners will recognize as the theme from the FOX TV series "Married...With Children". While at Capitol Frank made a number of unforgettable recordings with the legendary arranger, composer, bandleader and orchestrator Nelson Riddle. You can sample at least a half dozen of these songs right here including his big 1958 hit "Witchcraft", "All the Way", "You Make Me Feel So Young" and what many feel is one of Sinatra's finest performances ever "I've Got You Under My Skin". Trust me folks it simply does not get any better than that one!

Frank Sinatra would leave the cozy confines of Capitol Records in 1960 and launched his very own record label. He called it Reprise. One of the label's founding principles under Sinatra's leadership was that each artist would have full creative freedom, and at some point complete ownership of their work including publishing rights. It was a noble idea but unfortunately things did not pan out the way Frank had hoped. In 1963 Frank sold the label to Warner Brothers but remained on board as an artist. Sinatra continued to churn out successful LP's but it had been awhile since he had a hit single. That all changed in early 1966 when he teamed up once again with Nelson Riddle and recorded the album "Strangers In the Night". Not only did the album soar to the top of the Billboard album charts but the single did as well! The "Chairman of the Board" was being introduced to a whole new generation or record-buyers. Frank had a number of other hit singles in the 1960's including "Summer Wind", "It Was A Very Good Year" and one of my all-time favorites "That's Life" from 1966. You will find them all on "Best of the Best". Add to that the aforementioned Grammy Award winning "My Way" and Frank's final hit single "Theme from New York, New York" from 1980 and what you have is an extraordinarily entertaining collection by the man many consider to be the greatest entertainer of the 20th century.

As I mentioned earlier this is the first time that Frank Sinatra's Capitol and Reprise hits have been included on the same CD. Rest assured that these are all the original recordings that have been lovingly remastered for your enjoyment. "Sinatra: Best of the Best" would be a splendid gift for that senior on your list or perhaps for a younger person who may have never even heard of Frank Sinatra. Perhaps they will discover why "Ol' Blue Eyes" was so popular for so long with people of all ages. Very highly recommended.
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on November 15, 2011
While I won't be as long as a previous review...I do agree that for once we (the listening & buying public) get a true "Best of" or "Greatest Hits" by Ol' Blue Eyes. Other CDs always had at least one song missing that a person would want to hear. Not on this one. Here...you get `em all.

And I like the order the songs are arranged or listed; going out in style with the last two tracks..."My Way" and "Theme from New York, New York". One might say these last two resurrected Frank's career & brought him to a younger generation he never had until then. Aptly named CD: Sinatra: Best Of The Best. Exclamation point!
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on November 25, 2011
I had '57 in Concert on my Amazon wish list for two years, but never got it because it was out of print, and never went below $50. Needless to say, when I found out it was on this deluxe edition, I was ecstatic. I resisted buying the regular edition locally, and made myself wait until the mailman brought it, and was I glad I did. There are many concerts available from Vegas in the 60's, and from many places in the 80's (when charm assisted the instrument) but very few legit recordings from Sinatra's vocal prime of the late 50's. And of course, he didn't haul Nelson Riddle around too much either, as he lugged Nelson and his recording musicians up the coast to Seattle. At times, the Voice seems a little weak ("One For My Baby" is mostly whispered) but is that the Crown Royal talking they got that week from Canada, or is it because he was just so darn good in this era that we're expecting perfection? No matter, because it's a heck of a ride. It's especially nice to hear songs that weren't always standard fare, like the Dorsey era "Oh! Look at Me Now" "The Tender Trap" and a trilogy from Songs For Young Lovers.

As for "Best of the Best" it's a fine Beginning Sinatra 101 course, with both the Capitol and Reprise in historical order. I drove 90 miles in an ice storm to hear Frank Jr. tell the stories that are in these liner notes. Frank-o-philes could stand here all day debating what is truly "best of the best" especially in the Capitol section(c'mon, no "Moonlight In Vermont?") but it's a hoot having Witchcraft and My Way on the same CD for once.

My only gripe is the Fort Knox packaging on the deluxe edition. Very hard to grip the two cardboard sleeves in the tight CD-sized box. But otherwise, a first-class collection "all the way."
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on June 24, 2012
OK, look, there are a number of excellent compilations already out there so this had better be good! Although the track list is wonderful and this *should* have been a great compilation, I was sadly greatly disappointed.

I already have a good collection of Sinatra over the years but was willing to have a listen to a modern compilation in the hopes of better quality. Big mistake. Compared to "My Way: The Best of Frank Sinatra" from 1997, this CD was engineered LOUD to the point of distortion. Grab a good pair of headphones or put this into a good hi-fi system and have a listen. Clipped instruments, harsh vocals from ol' Blue Eyes.

I think another reviewer mentioned to blame Mr. Larry Walsh who "Engineered and Mixed" this most unfortunate release.

Bottom line: If you're going to listen to this in your car or with the white iPod ear buds - it'll be fine. If you're more discerning of sound quality and really want to hear the wonderful Sinatra vocals, grab one of the other compilations like "My Way".

Thumbs down for this mess. Money better spent elsewhere.
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on November 30, 2011
I am a huge, huge Sinatra fan. I have nearly everything he ever recorded in the studio, plus numerous live concerts and videos of TV shows and concerts. I know a lot about Frank. I cannot completely share the enthusiasm about this particular item that the previous three reviewers share.
First the good news: I have possessed a CD of the "57 Seattle concert for years. There aren't that many Sinatra live show recordings from the "50's, so this is rather rare, especially with Nelson Riddle joining him. Some really great songs and renditions (although I must add that Sinatra struggles with "My Funny Valentine"). That being said, the price of this CD collection is worth the price for this concert alone.
However, I am not as enthusiastic about the first disc, which combines recordings from both Capitol and Reprise. My beef is that Sinatra recorded thousands of songs (including with Columbia and also RCA Victor with Tommy Dorsey) and the collection is limited to 23 songs? If you are someone who wants to know more about Sinatra, then I suppose this collection would be OK. But there are way too many worthy songs not here.

But if you really want to get into Sinatra but don't want to buy individual albums he recorded, then I recommend...on Capitol, Classic Sinatra is a worthy collection of 20 songs. Even better is the three disc collection, Frank Sinatra, The Capitol Years. 75 songs on three discs, including his very hard to find recording of "Everybody Loves Somebody", recorded roughly seven years before Dean Martin recorded it! For the Reprise years, I recommend Nothing But the Best, one disc that has the basics covered. Even better is the four disc Reprise Collection.

Sinatra is the greatest, and there is a lot of material out there. Again, for the '57 concert alone, well worth it, but you can get better "best of or greatest hits" compilations than this one. Hope this helps!
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on January 29, 2012
Larry Walsh. That's who the jacket liner says to blame for the awful sound reproduction found in this abortion of a recording. Even the samples here on Amazon of this album / CD / MP3 reveal the lack of any effort to maintain some sort of high fidelity reproduction of the recordings.

The Engineer... the guy who sits behind the big expensive console with all the buttons and sliders... that's the guy who is largely responsible for the sound of a recording. It may well be the fact that they have so many songs here on one recording that pushes the conclusion that they had to sacrifice the sample quality of the recordings to get them all on one CD. This is certainly NOT two channel stereo, with all the high frequencies. This is a monaural recording with nothing on there above 11,000 Hz... that is... the crisp clear overtones of a well made, high quality, high fidelity recording. Compressed, muffled, without any effects of any kind. Worthy of the 1950's quality recordings.

I know Frank Sinatra put out high fidelity recordings... I have some of those albums / CDs. He lived well into the ultra high fidelity age of recording. Unfortunately, I cannot return this CD to Walmart where I bought it, because once you crack the seal, it's just tough darts if you don't like the recordings.

Just say no. Look elsewhere to ANY of his other recordings. Those in their 30's and under may not mind this lack of quality in the recording... they will just chalk it up to being a dead, ancient artist. Guess what, my friends? Is this what "modern" technology has brought us to? The 1970's were capable of FAR FAR superior sound than this flat lackluster compressed non stereo no crisp treble high end recording that you have here. If all you want is ANY compilation of Frank Sinatra, and quality does not matter to you, and you just want a CD to remind you of what songs he used to sing... this recording may do it for you. But, not for me.

I love Frank Sinatra's music. That is exactly why I gave this recording one star... to warn people that this effort is not WORTHY of Frank Sinatra... he was much greater than this. And so is the orchestra in the background... they are all excellent musicians. But this recording sounds like crap.
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on November 30, 2011
The problem with being a Sinatra fan is that, as I told when reviewing Romance, is that you get new albums constantly, but, most of the times, these albums are just cheap compilations of bad masters or, if you are lucky, some songs put together.

This time is different, though.

Best Of The Best offers that, the best of the best, remastered. And quite well remastered I must say.

I'm not an expert, but you can feel the difference from previous versions.

This box has, as a bonus, Sinatra '57 - In Concert, a live CD, also remastered, with a performance that is -at least to me- new in CD.

One remarkable live performance on June 9, 1957, in Seattle, Washington.

So, if you're into Sinatra, or just a bystander, I highly recommend this Box...
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon November 15, 2011
When you take a look at Frank Sinatra's long and prolific recording career the numbers are simply staggering. Frank had his first big hit as lead vocalist of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in 1940 with "I'll Never Smile Again". Sinatra would go solo just a couple of years later. Over the next four decades Frank would amass an astonishing total of 145 hit singles including such memorable hits as "The Lady Is A Tramp", "Come Fly With Me", "Strangers In the Night" and of course his signature tune "My Way". Now for the very first time Frank's most popular sides from his salad days at Capitol have been combined with all of those great 1960's hits at Reprise. "Frank Sinatra: Best of the Best (Deluxe Edition)" offers up an impressive 23 track disc featuring the greatest hits from the prime of Frank's fabulous career. And for just a few dollars more than the basic edition the folks at Capitol have thrown in a lot of extra goodies that will delight collectors and long-time fans as well. I suspect that this one is going to be a very popular holiday and birthday gift for quite some time to come.

After a decade at Columbia Records Frank Sinatra made the move to Capitol in the spring of 1953. Most Sinatra afficianados will argue that he did his finest work while at Capitol. "Frank Sinatra: Best of the Best (Deluxe Edition)" offers up more than a dozen of these memorable tunes many of which were among the biggest hits of the 1950's. Enjoy once again great hits like "Young-At-Heart", "All The Way" and "Love and Marriage" from 1955 which younger listeners will recognize as the theme from the popular FOX TV series "Married...With Children". While at Capitol Frank made a number of unforgettable recordings with the legendary arranger, composer, bandleader and orchestrator Nelson Riddle. You can sample at least a half dozen of these songs right here including his big 1958 hit "Witchcraft", "All the Way", "You Make Me Feel So Young" and what many feel is one of Sinatra's finest performances ever "I've Got You Under My Skin". Trust me folks it simply does not get any better than that one!

Frank Sinatra would leave the cozy confines of Capitol Records in 1960 and launched his very own record label. He called it Reprise. One of the label's founding principles under Sinatra's leadership was that each artist would have full creative freedom, and at some point complete ownership of their work including publishing rights. It was a noble idea but unfortunately things did not pan out the way Frank had hoped. In 1963 Frank sold the label to Warner Brothers but remained on board as an artist. Sinatra continued to churn out successful LP's but it had been awhile since he had a hit single. That all changed in early 1966 when he teamed up once again with Nelson Riddle and recorded the album "Strangers In the Night". Not only did the album soar to the top of the Billboard album charts but the single did as well! The "Chairman of the Board" was being introduced to a whole new generation or record-buyers. Frank had a number of other hit singles in the 1960's including "Summer Wind", "It Was A Very Good Year" and one of my all-time favorites "That's Life" from 1966. You will find them all on "Best of the Best". Add to that the aforementioned Grammy Award winning "My Way" and Frank's final hit single "Theme from New York, New York" from 1980 and what you have is an extraordinarily entertaining collection by the man many consider to be the greatest entertainer of the 20th century.

As I mentioned earlier this is the first time that Frank Sinatra's Capitol and Reprise hits have been included on the same CD. Rest assured that these are all the original recordings that have been lovingly remastered for your enjoyment. As an added bonus "Frank Sinatra: Best of the Best (Deluxe Edition)" includes a bonus disc featuring Frank's long out-of print "Live in '57" performance recorded in Seattle, Washington. I am sure that lots of Sinatra afficianados will appreciate the opportunity to own this rare recording. Personally I am not a big fan of "live" recordings so I opted for the less expensive basic 23 track single disc collection which was released on the very same day. Either way you simply can't go wrong with this one. "Frank Sinatra: Best of the Best (Deluxe Edition)" would be a splendid gift for that senior on your list or perhaps for a younger person who may have never even heard of Frank Sinatra. Perhaps they will discover why "Ol' Blue Eyes" was so popular for so long with people of all ages. Very highly recommended.
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