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Sinatra, Frank - Close To You - Hot Stamper (With Issues)

The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.

Hot Stamper (With Issues)

Frank Sinatra
Close To You

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Sonic Grade

Side One:

Side Two:

Vinyl Grade

Side One: Mint Minus Minus to EX++*

Side Two: Mint Minus Minus to EX++

  • You'll find very good Hot Stamper sound throughout this early MONO Capitol pressing
  • It's richer, fuller and with more presence than the average copy, and that's especially true for whatever godawful Heavy Vinyl pressing is currently being foisted on an unsuspecting record buying public
  • Our most recent shootout was a tough one - our winning copy and Nearly White Hot copy had to be combined into one of our famous 2-packs due to their respective issues, and our only Super Hot copy had too many to even make it to the site
  • So when we say it's getting harder and harder to find early Capitol pressings of Sinatra recordings in audiophile condition, we ain't kidding!
  • There are some bad marks (as is sometimes the nature of the beast with these early pressings, as are problems in the vinyl) on the title track, but once you hear the sound of this copy and how it compares the average pressing, you might be inclined, as we were, to stop counting ticks and just be swept away by the music
  • 4 stars: “…one of Frank Sinatra’s most gentle and intimate albums… has a delicate, lovely quality…”

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*NOTE: There is a mark that plays 16 times at a moderate level at the start of track 1 on side 1, "Close To You."

This 50s LP has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern pressings cannot BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing any sign of coming back.

Having done this for so long, we understand and appreciate that rich, full, solid, Tubey Magical sound is key to the presentation of this primarily vocal music. We rate these qualities higher than others we might be listening for (e.g., bass definition, soundstage, depth, etc.). The music is not so much about the details in the recording, but rather in trying to recreate a solid, palpable, real Frank Sinatra singing live in your listening room. The better copies have an uncanny way of doing just that.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of older recordings (this one is now close to 70 years old), I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it -- not often, and certainly not always -- but less than one out of 100 new records do, if our experience with the hundreds we’ve played can serve as a guide.

You will rarely see an early Capitol or Columbia Sinatra record on our site. They are becoming more and more difficult to find in audiophile playing condition, not to mention the fact that many of the copies we take the time to audition don’t sound especially good to us in the first place.

What The Best Sides Of Close To You Have To Offer Is Not Hard To Hear

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1957
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there's more but we hope that should do for now. Playing this record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressing against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find pressings that sound as good as this one does.

What We're Listening For On Close To You

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren't "back there" somewhere, lost in the mix. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
  • The Big Sound comes next -- wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information -- fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight note-like bass -- which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency -- the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

Vinyl Condition

Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)

Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.

If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that's certainly your prerogative, but we can't imagine losing what's good about this music -- the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight -- just to hear it with less background noise.

Side One

  • Close To You
  • P.S. I Love You
  • Love Locked Out
  • Everything Happens To Me
  • It’s Easy To Remember
  • Don’t Like Goodbyes

Side Two

  • With Every Breath I Take
  • Blame It On My Youth
  • It Could Happen To You
  • I’ve Had My Moments
  • I Couldn’t Sleep A Wink Last Night
  • The End Of A Love Affair

AMG 4 Star Review

Close to You is one of Frank Sinatra’s most gentle and intimate albums, and that is due in no small part to the Hollywood String Quartet, which forms the core of the album’s instrumental support.

It also was one of the most difficult to record, taking eight months and five different sessions. Certainly, it is one of the most unusual and special of Sinatra’s albums, featuring a subdued and detailed performances that accentuate both the romantic longing and understated humor of the numbers, which are mainly torch songs.

With the quartet’s support, the album comes closer to sounding like a classical album, like a pop variation on chamber music. Where the intimacy of In the Wee Small Hours sounded confessional and heart-broken, Close to You has a delicate, lovely quality; it may not be seductive, but it is charming and romantic.