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The Essential Box set

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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The Essential Nat King Cole
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Audio CD, Box set, 27 Sep 2004
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Product details

  • Audio CD (27 Sept. 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Emporio
  • ASIN: B0002LUBGU
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 180,998 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Unforgettable
  2. Walkin’ My Baby Back Home
  3. What Is This Thing Called Love
  4. Straighten Up & Fly Right
  5. Black Spider Romp
  6. Early Morning Blues
  7. Embraceable You
  8. Faith Can Move Mountains
  9. Frim Fram Sauce
  10. Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good To You
  11. All For You
  12. Gone With The Draft
  13. Hit That Jive Jack
  14. Jivin’ With Jarvis
  15. Just You, Just Me
  16. Laura
  17. On The Sunny Side Of The Street
  18. Polka Dots & Moonbeams
  19. Scotchin’ With The Soda
  20. Orange Coloured Sky

Disc: 2

  1. Mona Lisa
  2. Lost April
  3. Naughty Angeline
  4. Almost Like Being In Love
  5. Body and Soul
  6. Don’t Blame Me
  7. I Like To Riff
  8. Jack The Bellboy
  9. Lush Life
  10. Are You Fer it
  11. But She’s My Buddy’s Chick
  12. Once In A Blue Moon
  13. Put ‘Em In A Box, Tie ‘Em With A Ribbon
  14. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
  15. You’re Nobody ‘Till Somebody Loves You
  16. What’ll I Do
  17. This Can’t Be Love
  18. That ‘Ain’t Right
  19. Somewhere Along The Way
  20. A Portrait Of Jennie

Disc: 3

  1. (Get Your Kicks on) Route 66
  2. My Funny Valentine
  3. Nature Boy
  4. Pretend
  5. Love Is Here To Stay
  6. Because You’re Mine
  7. Baby, Baby All The Time
  8. Call The Police
  9. I Don’t Stand A Ghost Of A Chance
  10. Babs
  11. Christmas Song
  12. Dough-Ra-Me
  13. I’m Never Satisfied
  14. Jet
  15. Red Sails In The Sunset
  16. Rose Room
  17. This Will Make You Laugh
  18. Sweet Georgia Brown
  19. Too Young
  20. Penthouse Serenade

Product description

BBC Review

There's no mistaking those velvet-piled vocal chords. Warm, sandy, accessible, Nat King Cole's is a voice to curl up inside on a grey afternoon, a fleecy blanket for the soul.

His distinctive baritone and keyboard dexterity rapidly made him a musical phenomenon, and enriched all those who marketed it: Capitol Record's Hollywood headquarters became known as 'The House that Nat Built'. The downside is that his brilliant musicianship was channelled into commercial hits. Despite a hugely prolific career, Cole is now best known for a handful of over-played sentimental ballads.

This superb 49-track double-disc collection puts the records straight. There are plenty of familiar numbers ("Mona Lisa", "Nature Boy", "Unforgettable") but, rejoice, no "Christmas Song" or "When I Fall In Love".

Instead, the compilation airs a crop of little-heard gems by the King Cole Trio, the hugely popular piano-guitar-bass combo with which Nat sprang to fame in the 1940s. Dapper tunes Like "What Does It Take" and "You Don't Learn That In School" reveal Cole's wit and urbanity, even naughtiness, while the bluesy break-up song "Meet Me At No Special Place" hints at edgier qualities. There are some curiosities too, such as "Calypso Blues", a solo vocal with only bongos as backing.

There's also plenty of spiffing jazz piano. During the 1940s, before his singing career took over, Cole was best known as a glittering instrumentalist. His lightning improvisational skills are evident here in tracks such as "Blues In My Shower", "Cole Capers", and a giddily elaborate version of "Sweet Georgia Brown".

The liner notes deserve special mention for their snappy yet erudite commentary, which illuminates the song-writing industry of the mid-twentieth century, as well as providing some fascinating factoids. Cole's own song "Straighten Up and Fly Right", a big hit in 1944, apparently incorporates a phrase his preacher father would use in the pulpit. The notes on "Frim Fram Sauce", that great gastronomic nonsense song, even provide some background on the eponymous condiment.

Beautifully produced and expertly researched, this compilation is a joy for anyone whose appreciation of Cole goes beyond roasting Yuletide chestnuts. Simply swinging. --Morag Reavley

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