Robb Report Vices

Sinatra Remastered

  • Tony Sachs

Frank Sinatra’s career as an entertainer lasted six decades, and it seems that Ol’ Blue Eyes rarely took a day off. That’s one of the best perks of being a Sinatra fan—there’s always something new to discover. Thanks to the Sinatra estate and the various companies with whom the late entertainer was affiliated, there remains a steady stream of “new” products coming to market.

Take, for example, three newly remastered Sinatra albums courtesy of Mobile Fidelity. The albums—Songs for Swingin’ Lovers (1956), A Swingin’ Affair (1957), and Point of No Return (1961)—don’t offer any previously unreleased tracks, but they do sound a lot better than any previous releases, thanks to their Super Audio CD formats. Of the three albums, Songs for Swingin’ Lovers is the standout, and here’s why: A few years after it was released in 1956, the powers that were at Capitol Records decided to “modernize” the sound by adding an echo to Sinatra’s vocals. Since then, every pressing of the album, whether LP, cassette, or CD—even Mobile Fidelity’s original remastering efforts from the ʼ90s—has used the echo-enhanced master tape. This time around, the album is cut from the unadulterated master recording, which makes it sound as if Ol’ Blue Eyes is singing right next to you.

Of course, you’ll want the appropriate hardware to fully appreciate what Mobile Fidelity has done. Our pick is the McIntosh Laboratory MVP891 ($5,500), a universal player (CD, SACD, DVD, DVD-Audio, and Blu-ray) that is equipped with audiophile-grade components. And speaking of audiophiles, Mobile Fidelity’s remastered Sinatra albums are also available on 180-gram vinyl. If you’re going that route, we recommend the Rega RP10 turntable ($6,459; click here to learn more), but keep in mind that a world-class turntable still needs a world-class system, so don’t overlook a quality phonostage, preamp, power amp, or speakers.

If you’re going to kick your feet up and hum along to Sinatra, it only makes sense to pour yourself a Sinatra-approved libation. This means Jack Daniel’s, but we’re not talking about just any Jack. It’s true that Sinatra was unapologetically loyal to the Tennessee whiskey producer, but 60 years ago the brand wasn’t the whiskey behemoth that it is today. The spirit itself was also made differently. In homage to Sinatra and as a nod to its craft-spirit beginnings, the company has unveiled Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Select, a 90-proof whiskey that’s aged in specially appointed charred barrels for a year longer than the standard Old No. 7. The barrels also feature a unique characteristic—grooves have been cut into their interior, which exposes the spirit to both deeply and lightly charred oak. The result is a big, chewy, sumptuous whiskey, redolent of caramel, candied orange peel, and oak, that offers a moderate amount of spice and a long, lovely finish.

Something tells us Sinatra would approve.

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