Songs for Swingin’ Lovers! starts off well with the swoops and sways of the delightfully danceable You Make Me Feel So Young; a track that made me wish I had my very own ballroom to sashay around! Frank Sinatra’s laid back style suits this song, but by about track three of the album his relaxed tone begins to sound lethargic. Songs that should be swinging drag their feet, and what is designed to be debonaire often sounds… dull.
A few tracks stand out amongst the rest. In Too Marvellous For Words Sinatra’s smooth vocals provide a lovely contrast to the staccato sounds of the backing band, and this song hints at what the album could have been. However most of the rest of the album sounds to me like someone should have seriously kicked up the tempo; it is frustrating to hear so many toe-tapping songs plod along as they do here. For example, compare Sinatra’s versions to Anything Goes sung by its composer Cole Porter, or a more recent rendition of Old Devil Moon.
Perhaps Songs For Swingin’ Lovers! suffers from the notion that a love song has to be slow. Frank Sinatra released many swing albums throughout his career, and it could just be this one that drags. If this is the case though, and the album is a tribute to soppy romance, I must question the wisdom of including Makin’ Whoopee in the mix. Sinatra’s truncated version rather missed point of the original, which is a cynical warning to all men, urging them not to be tempted into the arms of a bride out for all she can get!
This album has its moments, but I feel sure such a lively genre as swing could be represented better.