The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

And One More For The Road: Frank Sinatra’s “Duets” Goes Super Deluxe In November

with 4 comments

Frank Sinatra - Duets SDE

The way he wore his hat…the way he sipped his tea (or likely, something stronger)…the memory of all that…no, they can’t take that away from us.  Frank Sinatra’s influence is still felt every day – in style, in attitude, especially in song.  Though 2013 has been a quiet year for the Chairman’s catalogue, that’s about to change on November 19 when Capitol and UMe celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Sinatra’s triple-platinum Duets album with a variety of commemorative reissues including a 2-CD/1-DVD Super Deluxe Edition, 2-CD Deluxe Edition and 2-LP vinyl set.  All iterations will include Duets II, the 1994 Grammy-winning follow-up, and both CD editions will include bonus duets with Tom Scott, Tanya Tucker, Willie Nelson, Luciano Pavarotti and George Strait.

Duets, originally released on November 2, 1993, marked Sinatra’s return to Capitol Records after a more than thirty-year absence.  His first studio album for the label since 1962’s Point of No Return, Duets teamed the celebrated icon with producer Phil Ramone, co-producer Hank Cattaneo, and a host of performers from various musical styles.  Some of Sinatra’s choices for duet partners were naturals, such as his friends Tony Bennett (his self-professed “favorite singer”) and Liza Minnelli, or Barbra Streisand.  Others came from the worlds of R&B (Luther Vandross, Anita Baker, Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin), and rock (Bono).  Natalie Cole, daughter of Nat, had a deep connection to the standards created by the likes of Sinatra and her dad, while Carly Simon had ventured into the Great American Songbook on her 1981 collection Torch.  Gloria Estefan, Julio Iglesias and Charles Aznavour all added international flavor to the album.

Frank Sinatra - Duets DEPhil Ramone was able to deftly blend Sinatra’s classic style of recording with modern technological advances allowing for virtual duets.  He chose to record Sinatra in Capitol’s Studio A, the same room Sinatra had inaugurated in 1956.  Sinatra would sing an array of his most famous songs in front of a live orchestra, as always, with musical director Patrick Williams conducting his own charts as well as those by Nelson Riddle, Don Costa, Billy Byers and Quincy Jones.  Ramone told The Independent just before the album’s release, “We had separated him from the band in the beginning – not extremely, but with enough separators and bits of plexiglass and stuff and he was very uncomfortable.  He said, ‘I wanna be with the guys.’ The only thing to do was to put him out in the middle of the room…We put [his longtime accompanist] Bill Miller in front of him, so he could tease him, bust him. Bill’s been with him 40 years…Ordinarily, I would use two mikes on him – one above, one below. But he wasn’t comfortable, so I got him a stool and a hand-mike. It’s a way in which I’ve recorded Jagger and Bono. It’s not going to win any audio awards. But he’s the most comfortable with that. He did nine songs one night, straight. Three of the tracks that made it to the album are Take Ones.”  As he recalled in his book Making Records, Ramone utilized the Entertainment Digital Network system, developed in part by George Lucas’ Skywalker Sound, to record the duet partners via long-distance: Aznavour in Paris, Minnelli in Brazil, Bono in Ireland, Estefan and Iglesias in Miami, and Franklin and Baker in Detroit.

Duets was an unqualified commercial success, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard album chart in the U.S. and No. 5 in the U.K., and selling over three million copies in the United States.  The following year, Capitol released Duets II, once again in time for the holidays.  This time, Ramone and Sinatra corralled an arguably even more diverse gallery of duet partners.  Sinatra’s pals Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme showed up, as did old friend Antonio Carlos Jobim and the legendary Lena Horne.  Willie Nelson, who successfully transformed standards into his own laconic style on Stardust, joined Sinatra, as did Linda Ronstadt, who shared with Sinatra a close collaboration with Nelson Riddle.  Neil Diamond, Jimmy Buffett, Chrissie Hynde, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder all brought their instantly recognizable styles to Duets II.  Frank Sinatra, Jr. even joined his pop on a swinging “My Kind of Town.”  Duets II also made the Billboard Top 10, though it fared less well abroad with a No. 29 peak in the United Kingdom.  It went on to sell over one million copies and netted Sinatra the 1995 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance.

What will you find on Capitol’s various anniversary editions of Duets?  Hit the jump!

The upgraded Duets will be available for purchase in four distinct packages:

  • The 12” x 12”, gold foil-stamped Super Deluxe Box Set will feature Duets and Duets II on 180-gram vinyl records in a gatefold LP jacket, two CDs including both albums with five bonus tracks (including previously unreleased duets with Tom Scott and Tanya Tucker ), a DVD featuring interviews, the official EPK and a promo video of “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” duet with Bono, plus a 20-page LP sized booklet with rare photos and new liner notes, and an embossed lithograph with envelope;
  • 2-CD Deluxe Edition includes the same five bonus tracks as on the discs in the Super Deluxe Edition, plus a 32-page booklet with rare photos and new liner notes;
  • 2-LP vinyl version of the original Duets and Duets II releases on 180-gram vinyl, in a gatefold jacket; and
  • Best of Duets: a 1-CD, 14-song distillation of highlights from both albums and the bonus material, including the duet “My Way” with Luciano Pavarotti.

These collections supersede the 2005 90th Birthday Limited Collector’s Edition, which also combined Duets and Duets II.  That set premiered the Willie Nelson duet “My Way” in the U.S., with the Pavarotti version appearing on international editions.  Both the Nelson and Pavarotti duets appear on the Super Deluxe and Deluxe Editions.

Capitol’s 20th anniversary Duets releases arrive in stores on November 19 and can be ordered below!

Frank Sinatra, Duets: 20th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition (2-CD/2-LP/1-DVD, Capitol/UMe, 2013) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

CD 1: Duets (originally released as Capitol CD CDP 0777 7 89611 2, 1993)

  1. The Lady Is A Tramp – duet with Luther Vandross
  2. What Now My Love – duet with Aretha Franklin
  3.  I’ve Got A Crush On You – duet with Barbra Streisand
  4. Summer Wind – duet with Julio Iglesias
  5. Come Rain Or Come Shine – duet with Gloria Estefan
  6. New York, New York – duet with Tony Bennett
  7. They Can’t Take That Away From Me – duet with Natalie Cole
  8. You Make Me Feel So Young – duet with Charles Aznavour
  9. Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out To Dry/In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning – duet with Carly Simon
  10. I’ve Got The World On A String – duet with Liza Minnelli
  11. Witchcraft – duet with Anita Baker
  12. I’ve Got You Under My Skin – duet with Bono
  13. All The Way / One For My Baby (And One More For The Road) – duet with Kenny G
  14. My Way – duet with Luciano Pavarotti (bonus track, from Duets: 90th Birthday Limited Collector’s Edition, EMI (U.K.)/Capitol 09463-43377-2-3, 2005)
  15. One For My Baby (And One More for the Road) – duet with Tom Scott (previously unreleased bonus track)

LP 1 in Super Deluxe Edition only includes Tracks 1-13.

CD 2: Duets II (originally released as Capitol CD CDP 7243 8 281032 2, 1994)

  1. For Once In My Life – duet with Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder
  2. Come Fly With Me – duet with Luis Miguel
  3.  Bewitched – duet with Patti LaBelle
  4. The Best Is Yet To Come – duet with Jon Secada
  5. Moonlight In Vermont – duet with Linda Ronstadt
  6. Fly Me To The Moon – duet with Antonio Carlos Jobim
  7. Luck Be A Lady – duet with Chrissie Hynde
  8. A Foggy Day – duet with Willie Nelson
  9. Where Or When – duet with Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme
  10. Embraceable You – duet with Lena Horne
  11. Mack The Knife – duet with Jimmy Buffett
  12. How Do You Keep The Music Playing? / My Funny Valentine – duet with Lorrie Morgan
  13. My Kind Of Town – duet with Frank Sinatra, Jr.
  14. The House I Live In (That’s America To Me) – duet with Neil Diamond
  15. My Way – duet with Willie Nelson (bonus track, from Duets: 90th Birthday Limited Collector’s Edition, Capitol 0946 3 42807 2 3, 2005)
  16. Embraceable You – duet with Tanya Tucker (previously unreleased bonus track)
  17. Fly Me to the Moon – duet with George Strait (bonus track, from Strait Out of the Box, MCA CD MCAD4-11263, 1995)

LP 2 in Super Deluxe Edition only includes Tracks 1-14.

DVD (Running Time: 51:08):

  1. Sinatra: Duets (Electronic Press Kit, 1993)
  2. I’ve Got You Under My Skin -duet with Bono (Music Video)
  3. Bonus Interviews

Frank Sinatra, Duets: 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (2-CD, Capitol/UMe, 2013) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. Link TBD)

CD 1: Duets (originally released as Capitol CD CDP 0777 7 89611 2, 1993)

  1. The Lady Is A Tramp – duet with Luther Vandross
  2. What Now My Love – duet with Aretha Franklin
  3.  I’ve Got A Crush On You – duet with Barbra Streisand
  4. Summer Wind – duet with Julio Iglesias
  5. Come Rain Or Come Shine – duet with Gloria Estefan
  6. New York, New York – duet with Tony Bennett
  7. They Can’t Take That Away From Me – duet with Natalie Cole
  8. You Make Me Feel So Young – duet with Charles Aznavour
  9. Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out To Dry/In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning – duet with Carly Simon
  10. I’ve Got The World On A String – duet with Liza Minnelli
  11. Witchcraft – duet with Anita Baker
  12. I’ve Got You Under My Skin – duet with Bono
  13. All The Way / One For My Baby (And One More For The Road) – duet with Kenny G
  14. My Way – duet with Luciano Pavarotti (bonus track, from Duets: 90th Birthday Limited Collector’s Edition, EMI (U.K.)/Capitol 09463-43377-2-3, 2005)
  15. One For My Baby (And One More for the Road) – duet with Tom Scott (previously unreleased bonus track)

CD 2: Duets II (originally released as Capitol CD CDP 7243 8 281032 2, 1994)

  1. For Once In My Life – duet with Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder
  2. Come Fly With Me – duet with Luis Miguel
  3.  Bewitched – duet with Patti LaBelle
  4. The Best Is Yet To Come – duet with Jon Secada
  5. Moonlight In Vermont – duet with Linda Ronstadt
  6. Fly Me To The Moon – duet with Antonio Carlos Jobim
  7. Luck Be A Lady – duet with Chrissie Hynde
  8. A Foggy Day – duet with Willie Nelson
  9. Where Or When – duet
    with Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme
  10. Embraceable You – duet with Lena Horne
  11. Mack The Knife – duet with Jimmy Buffett
  12. How Do You Keep The Music Playing? / My Funny Valentine – duet with Lorrie Morgan
  13. My Kind Of Town – duet with Frank Sinatra, Jr.
  14. The House I Live In (That’s America To Me) – duet with Neil Diamond
  15. My Way – duet with Willie Nelson (bonus track, from Duets: 90th Birthday Limited Collector’s Edition, Capitol 0946 3 42807 2 3, 2005)
  16. Embraceable You – duet with Tanya Tucker (previously unreleased bonus track)
  17. Fly Me to the Moon – duet with George Strait (bonus track, from Strait Out of the Box, MCA CD MCAD4-11263, 1995)

Frank Sinatra, Duets: 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (2-LP Vinyl-Only Edition, Capitol/UMe, 2013) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. Link TBD)

CD 1: Duets (originally released as Capitol CD CDP 0777 7 89611 2, 1993)

  1. The Lady Is A Tramp – duet with Luther Vandross
  2. What Now My Love – duet with Aretha Franklin
  3.  I’ve Got A Crush On You – duet with Barbra Streisand
  4. Summer Wind – duet with Julio Iglesias
  5. Come Rain Or Come Shine – duet with Gloria Estefan
  6. New York, New York – duet with Tony Bennett
  7. They Can’t Take That Away From Me – duet with Natalie Cole
  8. You Make Me Feel So Young – duet with Charles Aznavour
  9. Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out To Dry/In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning – duet with Carly Simon
  10. I’ve Got The World On A String – duet with Liza Minnelli
  11. Witchcraft – duet with Anita Baker
  12. I’ve Got You Under My Skin – duet with Bono
  13. All The Way / One For My Baby (And One More For The Road) – duet with Kenny G

CD 2: Duets II (originally released as Capitol CD CDP 7243 8 281032 2, 1994)

  1. For Once In My Life – duet with Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder
  2. Come Fly With Me – duet with Luis Miguel
  3.  Bewitched – duet with Patti LaBelle
  4. The Best Is Yet To Come – duet with Jon Secada
  5. Moonlight In Vermont – duet with Linda Ronstadt
  6. Fly Me To The Moon – duet with Antonio Carlos Jobim
  7. Luck Be A Lady – duet with Chrissie Hynde
  8. A Foggy Day – duet with Willie Nelson
  9. Where Or When – duet with Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme
  10. Embraceable You – duet with Lena Horne
  11. Mack The Knife – duet with Jimmy Buffett
  12. How Do You Keep The Music Playing? / My Funny Valentine – duet with Lorrie Morgan
  13. My Kind Of Town – duet with Frank Sinatra, Jr.
  14. The House I Live In (That’s America To Me) – duet with Neil Diamond

Frank Sinatra, Best of Duets (Capitol/UMe, 2013) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. Link TBD)

  • Track Listing TBD

4 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Much do about NOTHING!

    Paul M. Mock

    October 10, 2013 at 14:53

  2. It would have been MUCH better for the Sinatra estate to do a clean remaster of the complete Capitol label Singles set. These tracks (or at least many of them) only survive on a poor 4CD set. The rest of the concept albums exist on very good remasters in the UK Capitol Years set (a rare collecors item), but not the Singles.

    The Duets albums were a totally artificial concoction. To make it interesting, the songs on the Duets discs should be issued as Sinatra actually recorded them. He recorded the complete songs. Ramone simply chopped out some of Sinatra’s vocals to insert the duet portions that were recorded without any participation by Frank. It is worse than rechanneled stereo. Terrible. Give us the complete performances by Sinatra.

    Kevin

    October 11, 2013 at 08:29

    • Indeed, there’s been a great deal of clamor for the unedited recordings and I, too, would love to see something along the lines of FRANK SINATRA: SOLOS from the sessions.

      Nancy Sinatra has also confirmed that “[Frank’s] last studio recordings were done for the ‘Duets 2’ project. About 6 tracks from the ‘Duets 1 & 2’ sessions remain unreleased. Actually one of them was ‘Nice n Easy’ which Dad and I were going to sing together. His vocal is there.”

      In the same thread on the Sinatra Family Forum from 2003 (see link below), it was confirmed that Sinatra completed recordings of “Angel Eyes,” “Moonlight in Vermont” and “My Funny Valentine” for the DUETS projects. “I Get a Kick Out of You” and “Just One of Those Things” were also attempted but never completed. It seems his vocals on “Funny Valentine” and “Moonlight” from DUETS II (along with other tracks on that album) were culled from live performances, not from in-studio performances.

      More info here: http://sinatrafamily.com/forum/frank-sinatra-8/what-franks-last-studio-recording-10115/

      Joe Marchese

      October 13, 2013 at 18:20

  3. What a missed opportunity!

    Duets is a fascinating, flawed piece of product and was a tawdry end to Frank’s magnificent career and art. That said it has its moments in the power of his declining voice, his readings and timings, particularly on the basically solo ‘One for My Baby’.

    However, the tragedy is that a goldmine of sessions sit in Duets in the original studio sessions cut solo before these became artiifically created duets. As some of us Frank fanatics have heard – the ‘Solos’ sessions of what became ‘Duets’ are wonderfully poignant and historic. They are the last Frank studio sessions and deserve to be released. This was the obvious opportunity in this package.

    When are Capitol, Reprise and the Sinatra estate going to get their act together and start – ala Elvis, Dylan and Miles – releasing lots of the unreleased stuff lots of us have heard and know is wonderful? The unreleased takes of Frank with Nelson, the unfinished studio songs, the revealing live interpretations.

    The ideal opp is 2015 and Frank’s anniversary but on past practice none of us can have any faith in any of them getting it right.

    Gerry Hassan

    October 15, 2013 at 05:28


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: