The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Ring-a-Ding Ding! 1961 Sinatra Debut For Reprise Is Remastered and Expanded

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Shortly before Christmas 1960, Frank Sinatra entered the studio to record the tracks that would yield Ring-A-Ding Ding!, his inaugural release on the record label he founded, Reprise.  As the company’s slogan went, Reprise albums were meant “to play and play again,” and boy, did Sinatra live up to his word!  Ring-A-Ding Ding! is still one of the singer’s most beloved albums some fifty years after its March 1961 release, and Concord Records is marking the occasion on June 7 with a remastered edition expanded by two bonus tracks, one of which is previously unreleased.

Bright, brassy and bold, Ring-a-Ding-Ding! kicked off with the custom-made title track from the pens of Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn, and continued with a tour of the vanguard of America’s greatest songwriters as only Sinatra could deliver.  There’s a trio from Irving Berlin (“Be Careful, It’s My Heart,” “Let’s Face the Music and Dance,” “I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm”) and two from Cole Porter (“In the Still of the Night,” “You’d Be So Easy to Love”).  The Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields songbook yielded “A Fine Romance,” and the Gershwins’ catalogue was tapped for “A Foggy Day.”  Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz’ “You and the Night and the Music” and Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler’s “Let’s Fall in Love” continued the prevailing mood of romance and joy.  Even a potential novelty like “The Coffee Song,” written by Bob Hilliard and Dick Miles became an ecstatic expression in Sinatra’s hands, and the entire 12-track album was perfectly in tune with the optimism that greeted a new decade.

As always, Sinatra was joined by the creme of the musical crop: Don Fagerquist and John Anderson on trumpet, Emil Richards on vibes, Bud Shank on flute, Frank Rosolino on trombone, and longtime pianist Bill Miller plinking the keys in his inimitable fashion.  Johnny Mandel, then just beginning to make his mark in jazz, arranged and conducted most of the album.  Nick Volpe’s now-iconic cover painting captured the singer in all his insouciance and swagger, ready to launch a label that would spotlight not only his own music but that of his friends and collaborators like Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr.

Concord is expanding Ring-a-Ding Ding! with two bonus tracks.  James Hanley’s “Zing! Went The Strings of My Heart” premiered on the 1990 box set The Reprise Collection and was recorded at the same December 21, 1960 session as “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm,” “When I Take My Sugar to Tea” and “You and the Night and the Music.”  “Zing!” is joined by one previously unreleased track, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart’s “Have You Met Miss Jones?”  This may be the December 20, 1960 cut arranged and conducted by Mandel.  (Three further Cahn/Van Heusen songs were recorded on December 21 with Nelson Riddle arrangements, “The Last Dance,” “The Second Time Around” and “Tina.”  The latter two tracks formed Sinatra’s first Reprise single.  All three recordings have been released on CD.)

Frank Sinatra, Jr. provides the new liner notes for Concord’s edition which is due in stores on June 7.  Hit the jump for the full press release plus discographical information and pre-order link!

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Concord Records marks the 50th anniversary of a pivotal transition in Frank Sinatra’s career with a digitally remastered version of Ring-A-Ding Ding. Under license from Frank Sinatra Enterprises (FSE), the album is set for release on June 7, 2011.

By the end of the 1950s, Sinatra had spent nearly ten years on Capitol, where he’d made some outstanding recordings. But at the dawn of a new decade, he was eager to establish a creative environment of his own making — one that would open up new territory to explore and take him a step closer to realizing his unique creative vision.

The result was the establishment of Reprise, his own record label and his primary base of operations for the remainder of his career. His initial recording on the new label was Ring-A-Ding Ding, a 1961 album that not only captured Sinatra at the top of his game with a self-confident swagger, but — with the help of songwriters like Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen, and arrangements by Johnny Mandel — also captured the optimistic tenor of the period.

In addition to the 12 songs from the original recording, the 50th anniversary reissue also features two bonus tracks — “Zing! Went The Strings of My Heart” and a previously unreleased version of “Have You Met Miss Jones?” The packaging also includes extensive new liner notes by Frank Sinatra Jr., who shares personal memories of his father during the founding of Reprise and the making of the album as well as annotations and insights for each track.

“As the new decade began, like Midas, everything Sinatra touched turned to gold,” says Frank Jr. “His movies were box office blockbusters, his records were gold, his concerts were standing room only, and with the help of his tireless efforts, he had been very instrumental in helping his friend John F. Kennedy become the 35th President of the United States. It was no wonder that for Frank Sinatra, the period of time in which he was living could only be referred to as ‘Ring-A-Ding Ding.’ The music in this premier Reprise recording reflected that state of mind in every note.”

Frank Sinatra, Ring-a-Ding Ding! (Reprise F/R9 1001, 1961 – reissued Concord, 2011)

  1. Ring-A-Ding Ding
  2. Let’s Fall in Love
  3. Be Careful, It’s My Heart
  4. A Foggy Day
  5. A Fine Romance
  6. In The Still of the Night
  7. The Coffee Song
  8. When I Take My Sugar to Tea
  9. Let’s Face the Music and Dance
  10. You’d Be So Easy To Love
  11. You and the Night and the Music
  12. I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm
  13. Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart (previously released on Reprise CD 9 26340-2/4, 1990)
  14. Have You Met Miss Jones? (previously unreleased)

Written by Joe Marchese

May 17, 2011 at 12:23

One Response

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  1. Hey friend,

    Awesome blog. I will post a link on my tumblr page.


    October 1, 2011 at 11:26

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