This is hands down my favorite Sergio Franchi record. Yes i have others. I love this record so much because of it's live aspect. I love the chit chat between the songs. I love his stories and his accent. I think it really captures who Sergio was even better than any of his studio recordings. Now, his studio recordings aren't bad. Some are better than others, but the ones that are good really are good. They're just not as good as this record in my opinion.
My favorite bit on the record is the opening of side 2, "The Gypsies (Les Gitans)". Sergio tells a little story about what the song is about. He sounds like Father Guido Sarducci by the way here. He tells this quiet love story and then the song kicks in like gang busters. I mean it really catches you off guard the way this thing attacks you. Then he starts belting out these Italian lyrics and I'm saying to myself "Yeah. Yeah. Go Sergio". It's like the gun was sounded and the race has begun. The song works it's way back to a quiet intimate vibe in the middle and just when you are lulled into a state of calm that opening refrain comes back to smack you upside the head. The song is that visceral. If you listen to any song listen to that one.
There are plenty of other great tracks to sample here as well. One of the staples of these live club records of the time are the medleys. This one has a pretty good one to open the record. In general I love the idea of these kinds of medleys that appeared on these kinds of records. You get just a sample of each song. Usually the songs are all good, and that is why they are chosen. Many times there are interesting transitions and arrangements. The "Hootenanny Medley" is also very good. I love the way he pronounces Hootenanny. The medley is of some very recognizable Italian songs. Give it a try.
While Lou Monte is fun to listen to because he has a sense of humor to his songs, Sergio is completely different. He's a serious tenor. He sings with drama and emotion. His voice can send shivers down your back. I like that about him. When you listen to Lou Monte you feel like you are listening to an Italian American. Images of little Italy in New York or Chicago come to mind. When you listen to Sergio Franchi you hear an Italian, plain and simple. He's the genuine article and can really set the mood for an nice romantic evening with a home cooked Italian meal.
Another highlight for me is "Quando Quando Quando". Again it has the great spoken intro explaining the song and then the song itself is great. It's sung mostly in Italian and has a jazzy, but simple accompaniment. It really feels like your are in a little lounge or dinner club. An interesting side note is that when Jake and Elwood Blues go looking for Murph and the Magic Tones at the Hollyday Inn, they are playing this song and ole Murph is murdering the lyrics. True story.
Also Sergio sings a version of the old standard "Chicago", but in Italian which provides a nice twist. Let's face it Sinatra owns that song and anyone trying to sing it will pale in comparison to him, but singing it in Italian helps you get away from the comparison. The song becomes Sergio's and stands on its own.
He then follows up Frank's standard with Tony Bennett's standard "I Left My Heart In San Francisco". Again the Italian makes it something new and quite beautiful. It also has some tap dance interlude that is interesting if not a little weird. Actually I'm not sure if it is tap dancing or some other rhythmic thing, but whatever it is, it is different.
The rest of the album is also a great listen. Each song works great right into the next. This is definitely one you can put on and listen from start to finish and have a very enjoyable evening.
01 Opening Medley.mp3
02 Dicitencello vuie.mp3
03 A Woman In Love.mp3
04 Quando - Quando - Quando.mp3
05 Stella By Starlight.mp3
06 Hootenanny Medley.mp3
07 The Gypsies (Les Gitans).mp3
08 I Wish You Love.mp3
09 In The Still Of The Night.mp3
10 E Lucevan le Stell.mp3
12 I Left My Heart In San Francisco.mp3
13 Core 'ngrato.mp3
The whole thing here. Sergio Franchi.zip