September Of My Years

Frank Sinatra

Concord Music Group, 2010

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Concord Records has been reissuing the Frank Sinatra Reprise Label catalogue with excellent results. The latest release is his classic 1965 album, September Of My Years.

Frank Sinatra started the Reprise Label in 1960. He wanted a place for artists to have complete artistic control over their recordings. As the owner of the label, he was called “The Chairman Of The Board,” and he ultimately recorded 34 studio albums for the label.

Sinatra sold controlling interest to Warner Brothers during 1963 when the label began losing money. Reprise would release albums by Sinatra and his pals, but it would move in a pop/rock direction, singing sign such artists as Neil Young, The Kinks, Jethro Tull, The Beach Boys, Gordon Lightfoot, and Jimi Hendrix. Reprise be deactivated in 1975-1989, but Young and Sinatra insisted that their new albums be released on the label. There were reissues of older albums, but Young and Sinatra were the only active artists on Reprise for over a decade. The label was resurrected in 1989 and today is the home for Green Day, Enya, Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac, and, of course, Neil Young. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Sinatra was approaching fifty and decided to release an album to reflect that event. He and arranger Gordon Jenkins began assembling songs that were mature, meditative, and can be described as self-remembrances that Sinatra could interpret as his own. This album of mid-life tunes resonated with the record buying public, reaching number five on the United States album charts and receiving a gold record for sales. Sinatra, Jenkins, and the album itself all won Grammy Awards that year. It remains one of Sinatra’s best and most popular releases.

The most memorable song on this disc was the hit single “It Was A Very Good Year,” originally recorded by the folk group The Kingston Trio. Sinatra turned it into a pop classic. It followed a series of relationships through the life of an individual with the summary being like vintage wine.

The twelve other songs from the original release reflect the theme well. “Last Night When We Were Young” was a Judy Garland favorite and Sinatra gives it a smooth performance, while “Hello Young Lovers” finds him reaching back to 1951. Other key performances include “How Old Am I,” “Once Upon A Time,” “When The Wind Was Green,” and the disc’s title track.

The album has been digitally remastered and the sound is superior to any versions that have been issued previously. The original liner notes have been included as well as an excellent biography of the making of the album. Two bonus tracks are included here as well: there is a live version of “This Is All I Ask,” and the single version of “How Old Am I.”

September Of My Years was a poignant album of aging and reflection for the Sinatra generation. It was released in the middle of the rock era when the new stars of the day seemed immortal. Forty-five years later, the album still resonates with a new aging generation when mortality is beginning to be faced rather than ignored. Sinatra, Jenkins, and all the songwriters featured here, except one, are gone. Only Erwin Drake, who wrote “It Was A Very Good Year,” is alive in his early ‘90s.

One of Frank Sinatra’s best and lasting creations, September Of My Years examines well the season of fall in all of our lives.

Rating: A-

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© 2010 David Bowling and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Concord Music Group, and is used for informational purposes only.