In a better world the new Sinatra boxed La Vegas set would be the number one CD in the country. Still, it stands at # 48 on the amazon chart, which isn't too bad I suppose. In fact, out of the top 50 CDs on that list, while not all are my cup o' musical meat, a good 15 or so qualify as something resembling music as we used to know it on this planet. I just keep telling myself that eventually even the most musically brain dead amongst us will tire of the ersatz country, rap, and sundried other crap that presently capture the attention of most music listeners.
This post gives me yet another chance to repeat the words of the great perucssionist Max Roach who when asked his opinion of rap replied, "People who voted for defunding of music education programs in public schools are getting what they paid for."
Back to square one, I feel that the Sinatra Vegas set is one of the best packages by him to have appeared in years. Somehow the received critical wisdom re: the later (1980s) 3rd and 4th CDs is that the performances tend to be a bit perfunctory. But to my ears, he sounds spectacular on both, especially the 1987 from the Golden Nugget. Apparently, as an inside joke with himself, he seems to be correcting all of the grammatical errors in the songs, i.e. The Gal Who Got Away, etc. as opposed to "That Got Away," etc. All the way through the set! At 71, here, he's still in great voice and seems to be taking more liberties with the material, whilst still not resorting to all those "Jacks" and added words and syllables that tend to litter the landscape of many of his "live" recordings. And studio sides as well in later years: On one cut from the Duets album I counted 57 added words to the composers' original intent. i.e. "I've got that there world on a big old piece of string sitting smack dab on a rain rain rainbow." Not exactly what he did, but I'm sure you catch my drift. As one fine singer of my acquaintance observed when I told her about this, "I guess he thinks that's hip." My analysis is that after singing the same songs over and over again for fifty years or more he had to do something to sort of slap himself in the face to keep from going on auto-pilot. A small price for us listeners to pay.