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In The Wee Small Hours

4.8 out of 5 stars 188 customer reviews

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MP3 Music, May 26, 1998
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Product Details

  • MP3 Music (May 26, 1998)
  • Label: Capitol Records
  • Run Time: 2987 seconds
  • ASIN: B000SXJMSK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (188 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,480 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This is Frank in his "I lost Ava Gardner" period. Never before was he su vulnerable, lonesome or as brilliant. No one has ever phrased a lyric like his man. No one. You feel his pain, his pathos, his despair and his loneliness on this album. It is a completely joyous experience to listen to this man sing particularly on this moving collection of wistful ballads.
The title track is an old standard, sung hundreds of times by other singers. But no one can sing it like Sinatra, it's as if you are listening and understanding the lyrics for the first time.
Others had greater range or greater voices. None had the inimitable gift that Frank Sinatra possessed and that was allowing you to understand a lyric and feel it deep down in your soul. There is only one Sinatra and this ablum epitomizes his vocal range and showcases his beautiful genius with a ballad.
Listen to "Mood Indigo" and "Deep in a Dream..." they will send goosebumps through you. For anyone who appreciates Sinatra or just great music, this is a must have.
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Format: Audio CD
In the Wee Small Hours is a perfectly arranged collection of ballads from the early peak of Sinatra's Capitol era. It is far less devastating than the 'cry in your sleeve' anguish of Only the Lonely and less string-heavy than the classic Where Are You collaboration with Gordon Jenkins. The cover art sets the mood for a quiet, late night listening.
As always in the 1950s, Sinatra and Nelson Riddle create the definitive recordings of great standards. Apart from the title song, itself a classic, there is plenty of substance here from Rodgers and Hart, Cole Porter, Harold Arlen and other composers from the era when songs really had lyrics. Duke Ellington's 'Mood Indigo' gets heartfelt lyrics here, and others like 'I Get Along Without You Very Well' show how completely Sinatra made these songs his own -- he's acting the role as much as singing the song.
This is certainly a 'mellow' album, not the finger-snapping sophistication of 'Songs for Swingin' Lovers' or 'A Swingin' Affair' (both stunning albums in their own right), but thoughtful orchestrations and meaningful lyrics. Sinatra had by this time mastered the art of breath control and could perform the long phrasing on these tracks without chopping up the verses. To see how hard this is, try reciting the lyrics out loud as Sinatra sings and try not to breathe in a way that calls attention to your breathing.
The five-star rating seems moot. 'Wee Small Hours' is a piece of history.
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Format: Audio CD
Did anyone at the label listen to this before it was issued? The previous 1991 CD sounds vastly superior to this- the high frequencies are all but obliterated, and there's a strange echo that is'nt heard on either the original LP or the 1st CD. The other remastered editions of Sinatra's 16 Capitol/Reprise are excellent (with the exception of Songs for Swingin' Lovers). Do yourself a favor and pick up the still readily available 1991 CD instead. Capitol, this classic of American popular music deserves better!
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Format: Audio CD
Frank Sinatra possessed the great wisdom to see the new LP record album as an opportunity to create a "concept album" of songs all about one topic. In The Wee Small Hours offers us a track set of songs all about love gone wrong and unrequited love. Frank sings with panache and his somewhat deepened voice reflects a vocal maturity that few singers ever attain. This CD proves it all.

The CD begins with the title track, "In The Wee Small Hours." "In The Wee Small Hours" deals with the consequences of a love gone bad--Frank sings of a man who sadly remembers his one true love who left him. The musical arrangement by Nelson Riddle enhances the beauty of this number and Frank delivers this with strength; and the vulnerability in his voice ironically makes his performance much, much stronger and beautiful.

"Mood Indigo" follows; and this song again reflects the usual high level of quality control Sinatra always maintained. He sings "Mood Indigo" passionately and the slow tempo of the arrangement works remarkably well. "I Get Along Without You Very Well" begins with a haunting musical intro and when Frank Sinatra comes in his voice is in excellent form as it is throughout this entire album. Frank delivers this with a degree of sensitivity that I rarely hear from any singer.

"Can't We be Friends" explores the thorny issue of a woman asking Frank if they could now just be friends instead of the lovers they once were. Frank focuses on the frustration and angst he experiences when their love goes wrong. In addition, many people say that "When Your Lover Has Gone" is both an excellent number and a reference to the pain Frank Sinatra felt after Ava Gardner ended their romance and marriage.
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Format: Audio CD
As I get older, prejudices that used to prevent me from enjoying many different artists and genres of music are melting away. Case in point: I picked up a copy of the latest remaster of "In the Wee Small Hours" a few weeks ago, and now I'm hooked on Sinatra. Obsession followed, and I'm now trying to put together the best sounding collection of Sinatra I can afford, so I picked up the two Mobile Fidelity titles that are currently in print, and I'm buying the latest Capitol and Reprise remasters.

While I loved the music and singing, I was disappointed in the sound of "In the Wee Small Hours". It sounded like they were too heavy-handed with the noise reduction. In fact, the latest remasters of all the Capitol titles I've acquired so far sound like they have all been subjected to excessive noise reduction that has sapped the ambiance from the recordings in varying degrees. Some suffer more than others. The Reprise titles that I've acquired so far don't have this problem. And while they were unfortunately remastered too loudly, resulting in some audible clipping, overall they sound pretty good.

In the pursuit of audio nirvana, I purchased a used copy of the original CD release of In the Wee Small Hours and it was a welcome improvement over the remaster, although when I tried the same thing with a couple of other titles, I didn't get the same gratifying results. Maybe MFSL will attempt to remaster the remaining Capitol titles in the future, but at least for now, some relief can be had in the original CD release.
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