〄 A Man Alone 〄
A Man Alone. Sinatra sings McKuen. Initially an odd concept, but lo and behold, an instant Sinatra Classic is born.
Frank Sinatra seemed to be recording anything he liked in the late 60s. A prime example – The track, ‘A Man Alone’, written by Rod McKuen.
In me you see a man alone. Held by the habit of being on his own. A man who listens to the trembling of the trees. With sentimental ease. Behind the wall he’s learned to call his home.
A man who still goes walking in the rain. Expecting love again. A man not lonely. Except when the dark comes on. A man learning to live with. Memories of midnights. That fell apart at dawn.
The self-titled track, filled with emotion that only Rod McKuen can write about. And of course, only Frank can interpret in song. The lyrics, as seen above, speak of a man, mistrustful of both other people and the world at large. He looks back, wistfully, at the past while at the same time, hopeful of the future.
However, McKuen’s lyrics are simple, yes, but Sinatra always managed to add an incredible emotional complexity to whatever lyric he sang. He offers words that say something personal about being alone. Each entwined between soaring orchestral strings, a sleepy walking bass, and twinkling chimes.
“How can you say something new about being alone? Tell somebody you’re a loner? Right away they think you’re lonely. It’s not the same thing, you know. It’s not wanting to put all your marbles in one pocket. Caring enough not to care too much. Mostly, I guess it’s letting yourself come first for a while.”
Instead of wanderlust and looking to find the connection he craves, we’re left with a passive hope that assures something out there still exist. Clouds, once an unwelcome shield against a bright outlook have become companions.
The mood, once again, reflects a theme similar to the more well known ‘In The Wee Small Hours’. Naturally, the Don Costa arrangements are superb, even dreamlike at times.
Make no mistake about it, this is a true artist at work. An artist of the highest order — one who mastered every facet of his art form.
On the whole, a rare and sublime occasion, and fortunately for us, preserved for the ages.
RIYL: Tony Bennett, Bing Cosby