All The Way

frankI’ll never forget the moment that I saw my very first Frank Sinatra record.

I was in Birmingham, Alabama, at the National Speech and Debate competition with my coach and two team members. We’d just gotten breakfast in this great little restaurant in Birmingham and saw an old record shop near where we’d parked. Naturally, there was no choice but to go inside.

It was up a narrow flight of wooden stairs, located in a tiny little room stuffed to the roof with records. Old movie posters covered the walls, tables and tables were filled with every record imaginable. The floor was covered in a thin carpet. Morning sunlight streamed through the windows and the air, of course, smelled slightly damp in the summer humidity. The shop had an old smell, and of course some music was playing from the corner.

I found the Frank records as soon as I possibly could, and purchased three, along with a Dean Martin record. For the rest of the trip in Birmingham they were my precious little find. I wrapped them carefully in my suitcase and prayed they would be safe on the trip back across the country.

And even more than that moment of finding the records in Birmingham, a moment where the sunlight streaming through the windows reflected off of the records like they were gold, is the moment when I got home and turned one on.

The very first song that I ever heard Frank Sinatra sing on a record player was “All the Way.”

I’d listened to Frank nonstop for years, but I’d never heard him on an actual record player until that very moment. My mom placed the needle on the record, and sound came out of the record player as if by magic. And then, in that really close yet somehow faraway and incredibly clear sound that a record player makes, he began singing.

“When somebody loves you, it’s no good unless he loves you all the way…taller than the tallest tree is, that’s how it’s got tofrankie feel. Deeper than the deep blue sea is, that’s how deep it goes if it’s real.”

I couldn’t help myself. I put my head in my hands and started crying. It’s been a while since I posted anything about Frank Sinatra, but most of you know that I’m a pretty big admirer of his. And when I heard that sound for the first time, it just got to me in a way I hadn’t expected.

Tonight I’m thinking about that experience, about how it felt. And it makes me grateful for beautiful things, and precious moments. For special things that tug at your heart and make you feel that deeply.

“Who knows where the road will lead us

Only a fool would say

But if you let me love you

It’s for sure I’m gonna love you, all the way…”

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Ad-Lib Blues

I was waiting for an event. Not edge of my seat waiting, but lounging back with patience waiting. (Which, knowing my capacity for patience, is actually extremely impressive.) It has been so long since I’ve published a post on Singing About Sinatra, to my ultimate shame, I’m afraid, that I was waiting for something tremendous to happen. Something incredible to write about that would make this lapse in writing justified and spring us into another round of commemorative posts. I was waiting for an event, not really expecting one, truthfully.

This morning, it happened. IT HAPPENED!

I was driving to work, about a 25-30 minute commute. I got in the car, plugged in bluesmy music, pressed on my Frank playlist, and went on my merry way. I don’t know how many of you have experienced a time when the shuffle feature decided to tell a story to you. But, this morning, this very thing happened to me. Here is the story it told me:

  1. One For My Baby
  2. Taking A Chance On Love
  3. How Could You Do A Thing Like That To Me?
  4. Someone To Watch Over Me
  5. Put Your Dreams Away
  6. You Make Me Feel So Young
  7. You’ll Get Yours
  8. When Somebody Loves You

The shuffle feature decided to tell me a story about a heart broken man singing in a bar about love gone wrong, who then decides that he’ll take a chance again – a chance on this love business, which apparently then goes horribly wrong AGAIN, in which case we’d all need a shoulder to cry on, which shoulder apparently turns out to accidentally fall in love with our resilient character, and brings him youthful joy, and then leaves – breaking his heart yet again- leaving him in a state to sing that it will probably happen to said lover once more, at which point our character writes an essay on love and what it REALLY means to love somebody.

So, the story itself doesn’t have an incredibly happy ending, but I thought about it all day at work. Why? Because songs themselves are stories- expressions of life. And when you have a string of them put together in such a lovely fashion that the individual stories come together and tell you an even grander story, that is really quite something.

That, is Frank Sinatra.