When I started looking at the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die I realised that there are so many albums I have never heard of and so many albums that I have no interest in listening to at all. And I thought I have loved music all my life, but I have my prejudices too and I love whom I love, but mostly my prejudices were related to lack of knowledge.
Number 1 on that list was Frank Sinatra’s In the Wee Small Hours. “I hate Frank Sinatra” is something you could definitely hear me say if his one song came on the radio. Yes, one song. I based all my knowledge about Sinatra on one song. My Way. I really hate that song. I am not sure why I dislike it so much. Maybe I thought we all did it our own way or that he was too arrogant and letting us know it in a song for all eternity.
So, I went to Spotify with trepidation and a beer from WeldWerks in Greeley, Colorado. I know what you are thinking, “Has anything good every come out of Greeley?” That makes two things I was wrong about.
As I listened to Sinatra pour his heart out in song I thought of my own heartaches. And I thought about Christmas and how much I hate it. Unfortunately or fortunately for some of you, the songs all remind me of Christmas music. If Christmas music was filled with sad lyrics about love and heartbreak. Imagine Saint Nicholas crying over his beer and singing to Buddy the Elf about Mrs. Clause leaving him on a midnight train to Georgia and now she is dancing on the ceiling with some other guy.
The funniest thing about the whole album is the title. Wee and small both mean little so i am a bit confused by it. Maybe he likes repetition after all music is filled with repetition of words and sounds. Every great teacher knows repetition is best for the student and Sinatra is schooling us on his heartache.
Some interesting things about this album and Sinatra is that Sinatra was a loser by this point in his life, his career had failed, his marriage failed, the album went to number 2 on Billboard for 18 weeks, considered by many critics as one of the best albums in history, it is considered the first concept album and the concept saved his career.
The concepts are all things I have dealt with throughout my life and many others have so it is extremely relatable to the listener. I think most people today would consider it too old sounding. I am not prejudice against music from other countries or time periods. My heart is always open to new songs, but not to love.
Would I buy the album? Probably not, it is on Spotify. His voice is smooth and the songs are depressing which is the type of music I gravitate toward. At this time it is not something I must have in my collection, but I am open to it. It is difficult to have a collection of anything when you live like a gypsy.