As the epitome of vocal cool and confidence, Frank Sinatra ruled the Las Vegas strip for more than two decades. This compilation draws on four of his best performances there between 1961 and 1987. In a 1966 recording, Old Blue Eyes is at his Rat Pack best on "I've Got You Under My Skin," with growling backup from Count Basie and his orchestra.
With the recent resurgence in the Four Seasons' popularity thanks to Jersey Boys, it's an apt time to rediscover Cannon (born Frederick Picariello), another East Coast Italian-American who worked with Four Seasons producer Bob Crewe.
When he's not backing up Wilco members on their solo projects, singer-songwriter Morgan Taylor makes sparkling kids' music, drawing comparisons to adult artists from Bread to the Beatles. Taylor sings about characters like a frisky eel that dresses in a wardrobe of single socks ("Slim Gets in 'Em").
With roots stretching back seven decades, the Blind Boys of Alabama still chug along, aided here by a host of country luminaries, including Vince Gill ("Can You Give Me a Drink?") and the Oak Ridge Boys ("Take the High Road," which pairs majestic vocals with laid-back twang).
No one understood my nightly need to be reassured I’d wake up again the next day. Eyes closed, I saw no sheep but the tufts of pampas grass looming silver like a solitary path. The scroll hung above me, a verse in five and seven, its flowing hand thin and illegible—I still knew it was about our life not lasting very long. How is it that adults were okay with such a prospect? In July, bamboo blades rustled against paper cranes and prayer strips; I wondered how I’d made the cut, when I wasn’t a boy my father wanted, wasn’t a koi princess my mother said would magically turn her tail into a pair of legs. I looked for the fabled rabbits on the moon, a family of them taking turns to pound rice into pearly cakes along their dark, elliptical orbit.