FRANK SINATRA — Watertown

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FRANK SINATRA - Watertown cover
4.91 | 4 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1970

Filed under Vocal Jazz
By FRANK SINATRA

Tracklist

A1 Watertown 3:37
A2 Goodbye (She Quiety Says) 3:08
A3 For A While 5:11
A4 Michael & Peter 3:10
A5 I Would Be In Love (Anyway) 2:28
B1 Elizabeth 3:38
B2 What A Funny Girl (You Used To Be) 3:03
B3 What's Now Is Now 4:03
B4 She Says 1:50
B5 The Train 3:25

Line-up/Musicians

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About this release

Reprise Records – FS 1031 (US)

Thanks to Matt, snobb for the updates

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Watertown by Frank SinatraWatertown by Frank Sinatra
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FRANK SINATRA WATERTOWN reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Matt
Recorded late 1969 and released the following year in 1970, "Watertown" is a concept album concerning a man from New York whose wife and children have left him. Not one of Frank's most popular albums, it bombed to say the least but sometimes this does not reflect on the albums quality but perhaps it was the time but not the material which was written by Bob Gaudio and Jake Holmes. Bob Gaudio was a member of the Four Seasons who joined them in 1959 at 16 years of age. The Four Seasons had some wonderful hits with Frankie Valli with songs such as "Sherry","Big Girls Don't Cry" and "Walk Like A Man" with Bob Gaudio writing or co-writing the lot and they all went to number one in the early sixties. Jake Holmes the other co-writer on the album has done many a jingle and is known as Jingle Jake writing music for many a large companies advertising but in his early days he was the man who wrote "Dazed and Confused" which Led Zeppelin made their own but it was originally on his album "The Above Ground Sound Of Jake Holmes" and is a collectors item these days in psyche music. Bob also produced the album as well as co-arranged with Charles Calello and Joe Scott with the last two gentlemen mentioned arranging the songs and conducting the music as well. We are coming near the end for Frank and he actually retired the following album but only briefly. This was his 48th studio album just counting Capital and Reprise output as the album format was still not in at his early period at Columbia and we can't count that. One of his most different as well, as the music has a Country influence and with all the songs written by the same songwriters we have a great consistency but alas the sales most likely were affected by the slight style change and the album did not have a big single which would not have helped with sales either. They do not make this style of music anymore that was such an important sound throughout the sixties and although the songs are not as strong it is reminiscent of Glen Campbell's work covering all those Jimmy Webb songs that he had hit after hit with in the late sixties and early seventies. Perhaps it is the way the strings are used throughout the tunes and there is very little brass used throughout,we just have everything low key with the drumming and bass providing rythmn but you have to listen to hear them and that beautiful rolling sound that was present in not only Country but Popular music as well from this period. If I had have been Frank Sinatra I would have been disappointed myself with the albums reception which it did not deserve.

"Watertown" is the start being the albums title and first song with a clip clop effect with the rythmn and Frank just delivering the verse but it is the chorus when the strings lift a little and Frank's voice that pull you straight in to the tune and although the songs are introspective and lonely it is this feeling that gives this album such character with the following "Goodbye (She Quietly Says)" continuing the same feel with Frank singing without any backing for the introduction and here in this short period you hear the man state the melody with just his voice and it is loud and clear on this slow tempo tune and when Frank just sings the word "goodbye" you can feel it. "For A While" which Nina Simone covered is the pick of the cherries with its bridge after the verse where you are transported back to this time when this music style was on the radio and Frank just singing the line "I forget that I'm not over you for a while". "Michael and Peter" concerning the children is next and it is accoustic guitar with Frank for a brief period but when the strings come in they just compliment the tune then Frank hits those notes over some great piano and Frank is singing Country with the same perfect style that he can handle popular music.The following tune is "I Would Be In Love (Anyway)" which also was the best selling single taken from the album and "Elizabeth" are more beautiful examples of popular music from this period. "What a Funny Girl You Used To Be" is more like the Frank we usually hear and the next song "What's Now Is Now" was actually another single taken from the album with a great chorus. The albums last two are "She Says" given the ballad treatment and the more up tempo "The Train" with its rolling Country feel bringing the album to a close.

It was 1970, young people listened to Pop, Rock and Soul with a little Country thrown in and the older were still listening to their favourites such as Frank, Dean Martin, Jerry Vale, and Tom Jones who had arrived as well and although this is Frank Sinatra's style and class it seemed to land in No Mans Land with everybody. Superbly crafted and sequenced being one of his most different efforts as well one of his finest from a late time in his career and one that did not receive the acclaims that it truly deserves.

Members reviews

friso
Frank Sinatra - Watertown (1970)

I became a music collector at age eighteen, collecting mainly psychedelic and progressive rock. 'Watertown' proved to be the perfect introduction in my long anticipated (but sadly delayed) venture into vocal jazz.

Thirst of all. I strongly believe this is one of the best records in my collection. I've always loved concept albums, but the combination of jazz vocals, jazz arrangements influenced by modern artistic forms of pop and a legend that makes one of his last stands with intimate and seemingly deeply moving performances is just unbelievable. But that doesn't yet make a record good, the compositions of Bod Gaudio and Jake Holmes are simply great and very sticky in a good way. The production is strong and lively in how it let's all songs follow up each other very nicely, which adds to the concept-album vibe.

The story is about a man living in the boring Watertown (Every-one knows the perfect crime; killing time) whose wife leaves him and their two kids for an exciting city life. The great opening track with it's gangster-like opening theme is a good introduction, but the first real blow comes with the well written en emotionally performed 'Goodbye' ("She reaches out across the table, looks at me and quietly says... good-bye"). The ballad 'Michel & Peter' is moving for it expresses a man's love for his family, a sentiment that is expressed not too often. 'What's now is now' stands out for it's positive energy and strong message, just before the artistic and inventive 'She Says'. The final track, 'The Train', is exciting and strongly emotional because of the strong open ending of the story.

Conclusion. A very moving concept album and qualitative entertaining experience. Somehow there are a lot of songs I carry with me. Five stars fully deserved.

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  • Vano
  • fusionfan94

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