Side One: Mint Minus Minus*
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- You’ll find STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from first note to last on this elusive favorite from Ol’ Blue Eyes
- We’ve been working on this shootout for years – this is one of the few copies to ever hit the site
- Master engineer Lowell Frank correctly captured the sound of every instrument here: the guitars, piano, strings, drums, percussion instruments — everything has the natural timbre of the real thing
- Marks in the vinyl are sometimes the nature of the beast with these early pressings - there simply is no way around them if the superior sound of vintage analog is important to you
- "Driven by a set of lush, sparkling Nelson Riddle arrangements, Moonlight Sinatra is a low-key, charming collection. An enjoyable, romantic listen."
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*NOTE: There is a mark that plays 10 times loudly at the start of track 1 on side 1, "Moonlight Becomes You."
Please ignore the sticker in the image. It's the best picture we could find. Our records do not come with stickers except under rare circumstances, and not so here.
The presence and immediacy here are wonderful. Turn it up and Frank is between your speakers, putting on the performance of a lifetime. On the better, hard-to-find copies, the sound is big, open, rich and full. The highs are extended and silky sweet. The bass is tight and punchy.
This Blue Green Label LP also has the midrange magic that’s missing from the later reissues. As good as some of them can be, this one is more real sounding. It gives you the sense that Frank Sinatra is right in front of you.
He’s no longer a recording -- he’s a living, breathing person. We call that "the breath of life," and the best pressings have it in spades. His voice is so rich, sweet, and free of any artificiality, you immediately find yourself lost in the music because there’s no "sound" to distract you.
Reprise pressings -- like every label’s pressings -- are all over the map. When you find a good one, you can be pretty sure it’s the exception, not the rule.
What The Best Sides Of Moonlight Sinatra 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 1966
- 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 the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top (to keep the strings from becoming shrill) did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren’t veiled or smeary of course. So many things can go wrong on a record! We know, we heard them all.
And we know a fair bit about the man’s recordings at this point. As of today, we’ve done commentaries for more than 21 different Sinatra shootouts, and that’s not counting at least another ten titles that either bombed or were sold off years ago.
What We're Listening For On Moonlight Sinatra
- 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.
Credit engineer Lowell Frank for correctly capturing the sound of every instrument here: the guitars, piano, strings, drums, percussion instruments -- everything has the natural timbre of the real thing.
One of the best sounding Frank Sinatra records is his as well: September Of My Years, from 1965, also on Reprise and only good on the original label and only good in stereo, like this title. There must be plenty of Tubey Magic on the tapes. It’s key to the better pressings. Without it, you might as well be playing a CD.
And let’s not forget the amazing (when you find a good one) Sinatra At The Sands, a record that blew my mind the first time I heard it back in the early ’70s.
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.
- Moonlight Becomes You
- Moon Song
- Moonlight Serenade
- Reaching For The Moon
- I Wished On The Moon
- Oh, You Crazy Moon
- The Moon Got In My Eyes
- Moonlight Mood
- Moon Love
- The Moon Was Yellow (And The Night Was Young)
Driven by a set of lush, sparkling Nelson Riddle arrangements, Moonlight Sinatra is a low-key, charming collection. Although the basic concept is somewhat nebulous — all of the songs have the word “moon” in the title — Riddle wrote a series of charts that suggest a warm, lovely evening with a variety of tones and moods, from light Latin rhythms to sweet ballads… An enjoyable, romantic listen.