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4.3 out of 5 stars21
4.3 out of 5 stars
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We are used to hearing the Nelson Riddle orchestra as backing for some of the greatest of the popular singers - Frank Sinatra, Nat Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, and many others. But here we have a two LP CD with tracks that were compiled and produced by Alan Dell when he was working for Capitol Records in Los Angeles. The LPs were called Let Yourself Go and Get Happy. They feature a number of `standards' from the popular music catalogue, like `You and te night and the music', `I get along without you very well', `Without a song', `For all we know' and of course the title tracks. But there are comparative rarities here too - `You leave me breathless' that Ralph Freed and Frederick Hollander wrote for the little-known 1938 movie Cocoanut Grove that starred Fred MacMurray; and the even older `I can't escape from you' that Richard Whiting and Leo Robin composed for Bing Crosby to sing in the 1936 movie Rhythm On The Range. It's a delight to hear the distinctive Riddle sound in these up-tempo dance band melodies, recorded in monaural sound in February and July of 1957 but digitally enhanced on this CD..
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 19 December 2010
This is a fairly short play CD of little more than 36 minutes duration featuring the Nelson Riddle orchestra. On the CD, 4 more tracks of just the Trio have been added. But the 9 tracks with orchestra are magical for both the piano playing of Oscar Peterson and the arrangements by Nelson Riddle for his orchestra. The tracks include Victor Young's `My foolish heart'; Thelonious Monk's `Round midnight'; Frank Churchill's `Someday my prince will come', composed for the 1937 Disney film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs; Duke Ellington's `Come Sunday'; Kurt Weill's `My ship'; Harold Arlen's `A sleeping bee', written for Diahann Carroll to sing in the Broadway musical House of Flowers; Gordon Burge's `Portrait of Jenny', which Nat Cole made famous; Gordon Jenkins' characterful `Goodbye', all standards, and a piece written by Oscar himself called `Nightingale'.
If you like Oscar Peterson's piano playing or the sound of the Nelson Riddle orchestra, then this combination of the two will absolutely delight you as a piece of late night listening.
I only withheld the 5th star because the playing time of the CD is really too short and the extra tracks are not really amongst Oscar's best.
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on 4 May 2004
While this CD might have been released in 2002, these are old recordings and terrific arrangements. But the buyer should be aware that they are monaural, not stereo. I don't think this information is given on the web page.
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Had I read the first review before I obtained my copy of this two-CD set I might have been dissuaded from doing so, which would have been my loss. Having played it against my Capitol CD of "Songs For Swingin' Lovers" I'm happy to concede that the sound is not the same, but I would not agree that it seems flat. It's certainly somewhat less brassy, which is no bad thing, given that the original recordings were made to appeal to a new generation of customers, who chose LPs to show off their hi-fi systems. The ambient sound level is about one-third lower, which enables a better degree of volume control, and the acoustic strikes me as warmer and more natural.

As to the compilation itself, it consists of four albums from the mid-fifties. The first was issued in 1956, comprised fourteen singles from the period 1953 to 1955, and was called "This Is Sinatra!" The situation is less straightforward with "Songs For Young Lovers" and "Swing Easy", because both were issued originally as 10" LPs. Several labels, Capitol included, have since bundled them in that form on one CD, despite the fact that four tracks were added to each on their subsequent reissue as 12" LPs. It is to Avid's credit that it has provided both albums in full. The package concludes with the classic "Songs For Swingin' Lovers".

It should be apparent therefore that this is a considerable bargain, and I'm very happy to have added it to my collection. I was torn between four stars and five, and plumped for the latter because the two already awarded seemed derisory.
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on 12 January 2008
I ordered this clearly well priced budget CD, to see what the quality of it would be compared to the origanl 'Songs for Young lovers,' 'Swing Easy,' and 'Songs for Swingin' lovers,' from the 1950's. I have to say I found it very disappointing. As soon as I played it it seemed flat, Nelson Riddle's backing did not have it's usual 'kick'and in some places Sinatra was not easy to hear. I have the three CD's mentioned above, they were, when I bought them expensive, but frankly they were worth the money. As soon as I played this CD I knew it was not as good as the origianls. If you are a serious Sinatra collector my advice, for what it's worth is pay the extra and buy them individualy, then you can be sure you will be happy with your purchases. If however you just want a budget Sinatra CD then this will be ok. I always remember the first time I heard these three CD's I was 'blown away' by how fantastic Nelson Riddle's backing was, and how perfect him and Sinatra were together. With the Essential Collction I did not feel this. If you want a budget CD then it's for you, if you want true perfection by them indivdually.
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on 10 October 2010
Whilst I apreciate the informative review regarding Monourial sound on this CD, I sometimes think that re-enhanced sound to older arrangements sometimes in effect spoils them to a degree. Whilst I am up to date with Stereo, 5.3 suround sound, etc etc. the old sound reproduced on my early Albums and cassettes etc., still provide emense pleasure and by the very sound of them, transports you in a way back to that era, which to me is what its all about.
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on 3 January 2010
I came across this disc while on Spotify and after on play couldn't get enough of it.Having always been a fan of Nelson Riddle(even when Linda Ronstat teamed up)the blend of piano from Oscar and the orchestra from Nelson is an excellent mix.If you want more than Oscar and his Trio this is the disc for you.I would have given five stars but with ten tracks not nearly long enough.
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on 12 July 2009
I have admired Oscar Peterson and Nelson Riddle for over 50 years. Nelson, from the time I bought my first LP "Swinging Lovers", and Oscar from the first time I saw him, touring with Ella and Jazz At The Philharmonic. Both were superb at what they did best - Nelson arranging for all the great vocalists like Sinatra, Ella and Nat Cole, and taking swinging strings to new heights with such wonderful orchestral albums as "Hey Let Yourself Go", and Oscar playing with any of his Trios, jamming with the likes of Coleman Hawkins and Roy Eldridge at JATP sessions, dueting with Basie or just accompanying Ella and Louis. But until recently I had never known that they had recorded together more than 45 years ago. Then, Malcolm Laycock played "A Sleeping Bee", a track from this recently re-issued album on his Radio2 Big Band Show. This is a gently relaxed, swinging number showing them at their typical best, and on the strength of this I bought the CD.

Unfortunately, despit the mutual admiration displayed by both artists in the sleeve notes, with the exception of "Someday My Prince Will Come" the only other number thar swung, the rest were in my opinion, a disappointment - to be filed under the index Late Night Listening - techinically faultless but somehow lacking that spark that I was expecting. Perhaps this is why I missed the album first time round. I have hundreds of recordings of both artists most of which I would rate 4 or 5 star, but Im sorry to say this album does not rank particuarly highly.

If, like me, you're an ardent fan of both, then add it to your collection. But as my Desert Island Discs choice or as an introduction for anyone unfamiliar with their works, I would go for Nelson's "Hey Let Yoursef Go" album and any of Oscar's Trio albums.

Verdict: Disappointing.
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on 25 December 2014
A great collection of classic arrangements by one of the masters of orchestration. It's a real joy to relax to one of Sinatra's favourite arrangers and musical directors. The tunes and the way they are played are timeless, priceless and totally heart warming. Cuddle up with Riddle and settle for nothing less!
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on 22 August 2015
Had to review this great collection after the quality of the sound was denigrated by earlier review
Songs and Frank need no defending but I think the clarity of the sound is EXCELLENT
So glad I bought this CD and didn't listen to the reviewer who really needs to invest in some olive oil
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