Frank Sinatra, â€œThe Chairman of The Board,â€ â€œOlâ€™ Blue Eyes,â€ â€œThe Voiceâ€ or whatever other moniker he went by, was the greatest popular singer of the twentieth century, with his legendary interpretations of the Great American Songbook, one of a kind phrasing and sonorous vocal tone that evolved into a seasoned brilliance in the autumn of his years. Many have covered his signature songs, including Tony Bennett, one of his contemporaries, released “Perfectly Frank,” a tribute album to the Hoboken-born legend.
â€œSIN-atra,” features rock and metal singers covering 12 of his classics. Is this sacrilegious? An affront? This collection is treading on hallowed ground, but if taken in the spirit it is presented in, is an enjoyable effort in parts and an empty exercise in futility in others.
The brain child of Bob Kulick, who has produced Metal Christmas and Beatle tributes, arranged this effort and plays guitar on it along with Richie Kotzen (guitar) and is joined by Brett Chassen (drums), Mr. Bigâ€™s Billy Sheehan (bass) and Doug Katsaros (keyboards). Their musicality and â€œchopsâ€ are clearly evident on this release, but its selling points are the contributions of Jani Lane of Warrant, Dee Snider (Twisted Sister), Robin Zander (Cheap Trick) Glenn Hughes (Trapeze, Deep Purple and Black Country Communion) and Geoff Tate (Queensryche). Rounding out the group are some less accomplished rockers like, Doug Pinnick of Kingâ€™s X, Franky Perez (Scars on Broadway), Nonpoint singer Elias Soriano and Devin Townsend, an up and coming current Metal artist.
â€œNew York, New Yorkâ€ by the aforementioned Townsend is nothing but a poor parody with a tedious scream fest in parts that is only partially redeemed by some crunching guitar and a unique arrangement. Townsend clearly has vocal talent that has not been harnessed. The vocal chorus at the end is out of place.Singers should realize where their strengths and weaknesses lie.
Glenn Hughes, who has also been dubbed â€œThe Voice,â€ is one of the high points on the CD for this humble reporter, with his rendering of â€œIâ€™ve Got You Under my Skin.” Hughes has amazing vocal range which is in full bloom on this track. He can handle any vocal chore and his soulful, rocking version gives this classic new life and a second â€œskin.â€
The â€œSummerwindâ€ is given a valiant effort by Tate, but falls short. The vocals are a little overdone, pretentious and the brass section is totally out of place. Despite this, the midsection and solo are the only saving grace.
Another nugget that stands out is Dee Sniderâ€™s passionate, well sung rendition of â€œIt Was a Very Good year.â€ Snider makes the song his own and it is classic metal meets pop standard brilliance. The trackâ€™s opening guitar refrain pays homage to â€œKashmir,â€ by Led Zeppelin. This track has a hypnotic arrangement and the guitar solo is perfectly suited for style of the song.
That doesn’t happen with Tim â€œRipperâ€ Owens (Judas Priest and Iced Earth) version of â€œWitchcraft,” a Sinatra classic, however. It is tortuous to listen to and comical at times. The vocals are atonal and the guitar â€œacrobaticsâ€ canâ€™t pull this out of the quagmire it descends into.
Zanderâ€™s version of â€œFly me to the Moon,â€ has a strange feel to it, but is saved by his vocal brilliance, The production is overdone at times and the song would have benefited by letting his voice be out front in the mix.
Eric Martin (Mr. Big) does a killer version of â€œThe Lady is a Tramp,â€ originally featured in the motion picture â€œPal Joey.â€ His vocals are strong, self-assured and his take on this track does not deviate too much from the original, save for some power chords and its metal treatment. The rhythm guitar and bombastic drums and Kulickâ€™s arrangement also make this one a winner.
If Joey Belladona (Anthrax) sung â€œStrangers in the Night”Â in the recent audition period of American Idol, he would have been eliminated. Belladona canâ€™t sing in his own genre of music, so what makes him think that he can do justice to this Sinatra standard? While listening to this, youâ€™ll pray for the guitar solo to come quickly. It is embarrassingly bad. Sinatra would be turning over in his grave if could hear this putrid try.
Just when you thought it couldnâ€™t get worse, it does. â€œHigh Hopesâ€ was a Sinatra throw away song when he sung it and is desecrated by Perez whose atonal vocals and groans are not suited to sing â€œMary had a Little Lamb.â€ In addition, the music is grating and dissonant. Ugh.
A momentary reprieve is granted with Pinnickâ€™s heartfelt, vocally sound rendition of â€œIâ€™ve Got the World on a String.â€ He can flat out sing and his vocal ability makes this song a cross between what it was originally intended to be when written, while adding a metal twist that gives the song new life. Incidentally, Pinnick is also a great rock and roll screamer.
â€œLove and Marriage,â€ made even more popular by the â€œMarried with Childrenâ€sitcom, by Elias Soriano, sinks to a new low. The vocals are awful and there is nothing redeeming about this effort. Were some of the artists picked for this project out of a hat randomly or was some thought put into it?
The CD closes with a rousing version of â€œThatâ€™s Lifeâ€ by Lane.â€ It is kitschy, but sound. This track had been covered by David Lee Roth, and Lane clearly pays homage to that effort while adding his touch to it. Lane has vocal chops and the bluesy guitar solo that evolves into a shredding display is also top notch.
When you get past the novelty aspect of this recording, there are some worthy listening moments, but this is dampened by the lesser efforts that drag this CD down to the depths of â€œMorder.â€ All in all, letâ€™s give credit where credit is due. Taking on the greatest singer in recorded history is not an easy task, for a singer of standards, let alone a bunch of Headbangers and rock and roll stars.It is not a great release, but it has some shining moments and would be preferable to listening to what is flooding the Billboard Charts today.
Leave a Reply