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Nat 'King' Cole Eight Classic Albums (4-CD)

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(Real Gone Music) 96 Tracks - 1958-1960 - Eight classical albums by the legendary jazz pianist...more

Nat 'King' Cole: Eight Classic Albums (4-CD)

(Real Gone Music) 96 Tracks - 1958-1960 - Eight classical albums by the legendary jazz pianist and singer, who even had his own TV show. Includes the following records: Cole Espanol, The Very Thought Of You, St. Louis Blues, To Whom It May Concern, Welcome To The Club, A Mis Amigos, Everytime I Feel The Spirit, Tell Me About Yourself!

Article properties:Nat 'King' Cole: Eight Classic Albums (4-CD)

Cole, Nat 'King' - Eight Classic Albums (4-CD) CD 1
01CachitoNat 'King' Cole
02Maria ElenaNat 'King' Cole
03Quizas, Quizas, Quizas (Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps)Nat 'King' Cole
04Las MananitasNat 'King' Cole
05Acercate Mas (Come Closer To Me)Nat 'King' Cole
06El Bodeguero (Grocer's Cha Cha)Nat 'King' Cole
07Arrivederci RomaNat 'King' Cole
08Noche De RondaNat 'King' Cole
09Tu Me DelirioNat 'King' Cole
10Te Quiero, Dijiste (Magic Is The Moonlight)Nat 'King' Cole
11AdelitaNat 'King' Cole
12The Very Thought Of YouNat 'King' Cole
13But BeautifulNat 'King' Cole
14ImpossibleNat 'King' Cole
15I Wish I KnewNat 'King' Cole
16I Found A Million Dollar BabyNat 'King' Cole
17Magnificent ObsessionNat 'King' Cole
18My Heart Tells MeNat 'King' Cole
19ParadiseNat 'King' Cole
20This Is All I AskNat 'King' Cole
21Cherie, I Love YouNat 'King' Cole
22Making Believe You're HereNat 'King' Cole
23Cherchez La FemmeNat 'King' Cole
24For All We KnowNat 'King' Cole
25The More I See YouNat 'King' Cole
Cole, Nat 'King' - Eight Classic Albums (4-CD) CD 2
01Overture (Introducing Love Theme)-Hesitating BluesNat 'King' Cole
02Harlem BluesNat 'King' Cole
03Chantez Les BasNat 'King' Cole
04Friendless BluesNat 'King' Cole
05StayNat 'King' Cole
06Joe Turner's BluesNat 'King' Cole
07Beale Street BluesNat 'King' Cole
08Careless LoveNat 'King' Cole
09Morning StarNat 'King' Cole
10Memphis BluesNat 'King' Cole
11Yellow Dog BluesNat 'King' Cole
12St Louis BluesNat 'King' Cole
13To Whom It May ConcernNat 'King' Cole
14LovewiseNat 'King' Cole
15Too MuchNat 'King' Cole
16In The Heart Of Jane DoeNat 'King' Cole
17A Thousand Thoughts Of YouNat 'King' Cole
18You're Bringing Out The Dreamer In MeNat 'King' Cole
19My Hearts TreasureNat 'King' Cole
20If You Said NoNat 'King' Cole
21Can't Help ItNat 'King' Cole
22LovesvilleNat 'King' Cole
23UnfairNat 'King' Cole
24This Morning It Was SummerNat 'King' Cole
Cole, Nat 'King' - Eight Classic Albums (4-CD) CD 3
01Welcome To The ClubNat 'King' Cole
02Anytime, Anyday, AnywhereNat 'King' Cole
03The Blues Don't CareNat 'King' Cole
04Mood IndigoNat 'King' Cole
05Baby, Won't You Please Come HomeNat 'King' Cole
06The Late, Late ShowNat 'King' Cole
07AvalonNat 'King' Cole
08She's Funny That WayNat 'King' Cole
09I Want A Little GirlNat 'King' Cole
10Wee Baby BluesNat 'King' Cole
11Look Out For LoveNat 'King' Cole
12Ay, Cosita LindaNat 'King' Cole
13Aquellos Ojos VerdesNat 'King' Cole
14Suas MaosNat 'King' Cole
15Capullito De AleliNat 'King' Cole
16Caboclo Do RioNat 'King' Cole
17FantasticoNat 'King' Cole
18Nadie Me AmaNat 'King' Cole
19Yo Vendo Unos Ojos NegrosNat 'King' Cole
20PerfidiaNat 'King' Cole
21El ChocloNat 'King' Cole
22AnsiedadNat 'King' Cole
23Nao Tenho LagrimasNat 'King' Cole
Cole, Nat 'King' - Eight Classic Albums (4-CD) CD 4
01Every Time I Feel The SpiritNat 'King' Cole
02I Want To Be ReadyNat 'King' Cole
03Sweet Hour Of PrayerNat 'King' Cole
04Ain't Gonna Study War No MoreNat 'King' Cole
05I Found The AnswerNat 'King' Cole
06Standin' In The Need Of PrayerNat 'King' Cole
07Oh, Mary, Don't You WeepNat 'King' Cole
08Go Down MosesNat 'King' Cole
09Nobody Knows The Trouble I've SeenNat 'King' Cole
10In The Sweet By And ByNat 'King' Cole
11I Couldn't Hear Nobody PrayNat 'King' Cole
12Steal AwayNat 'King' Cole
13Tell Me All About YourselfNat 'King' Cole
14Until The Real Thing Comes AlongNat 'King' Cole
15The Best Thing For YouNat 'King' Cole
16When You Walked ByNat 'King' Cole
17Crazy She Calls MeNat 'King' Cole
18You've Got The Indian Sign On MeNat 'King' Cole
19For YouNat 'King' Cole
20Dedicated To YouNat 'King' Cole
21You Are My LoveNat 'King' Cole
22This Is AlwaysNat 'King' Cole
23My LifeNat 'King' Cole
24(I Would Do) Anything For YouNat 'King' Cole
Nat King Cole "Some performers - like myself - have to be loud and rambunctious. But Nat was... more
"Nat 'King' Cole"

Nat King Cole

"Some performers - like myself - have to be loud and rambunctious. But Nat was just Nat."
- Sammy Davis, Jr.

On December 20, 1954, a little more than a week before the start of the period covered by this box set, Nat King Cole and his musical director Nelson Riddle recorded A Blossom Fell. The song would be one of Cole's big hits of 1955; in 1956 it would become the lead track of his album 'Ballads Of The Day,' a popular compilation of successful singles. Empirical evidence suggests that Cole and his producer, Lee Gillette, regarded A Blossom Fell as one of the singer's all-time greatest hits. Cole would land more than a hundred songs on various hit charts over a 25-year period in his lifetime alone yet A Blossom Fell was one of the 36 songs they chose to re-record in stereo in 1961, for the retrospective album, 'The Nat King Cole Story.'

A Blossom Fell was in many ways, a typical Nat King Cole song. Like many of his hits in the '50s and '60s, it was a European import. Cole must surely hold the record, you should forgive the expression, for doing more foreign-born songs than any other American entertainer – with the possible exception of Louis Armstrong. In this particular case, the song came from England, where it had been written by three rather obscure authors named Harold Cornelius, Dominic John and Howard Barnes. (The only other fact I have been able to find out about them is that they also wrote one other song that Cole put on the charts: the 1955 Dreams Can Tell A Lie. This tune was neither anywhere near as good a song nor, correspondingly, nearly as big a hit as A Blossom Fell.)

For most of his career, not only did a significant portion of Cole's material come from outside the United States, a large percentage of his market resided there as well. Around the same time A Blossom Fell was released in America, Cole's disc also charted in the song's native country, where Cole's version climbed considerably higher than rival recordings by home-grown crooners, Dickie Valentine and Ronnie Hilton.

The song is also an archetypical Nat King Cole hit in that, with no disrespect intended to Mr. Valentine and Mr. Hilton, I doubt that anyone would remember this particular song – and many others - were it not for Cole. In a sense, this was the opposite of the traditional path into The Great American Songbook. In many cases, the original source of the great songs is irrelevant; only scholars and music nerds would care that All The Things You Are was introduced by a singer no one has ever heard of (even in 1939) in a show called 'Very Warm For May' that quickly flopped. A Blossom Fell is precisely the reverse scenario: we care about the song only because Nat Cole had a hit with it. We would have no reason to remember the song were it not for Cole; he not only put it on the map, he was the whole map.

Even though it has been recorded by a handful of other singers, the song's only cred comes from the Cole-Riddle hit recording. The Austrian jazz singer Simone Kopemajer recently included it on an album because, as she told me, she loved the Cole performance of it. To Frau Kopemajer, Blossom represents a slice of the Great American Songbook and of the Cole canon – I don't think she was aware that the song had actually originated in Europe.

But in contrast to All The Things You Are - which is, admittedly, an unfair standard of excellence to compare it to - A Blossom Fell is by no means a classic example of songwriting. The lyric pivots on two points, the first being the use of plants as a metaphor. Cole would sing other songs that used variations on this idea, most notably the famous Blue Gardenia (1953), the obscure Sweet William (1952), and the classic Autumn Leaves (which he would perform for the first of many times later in 1955).

The lyric also employs another time-honored conceit of songwriters: the idea that gypsies, being fortune-tellers, are a race of mystics who have the inside dope on fate. While many of the ethnic stereotypes of Tin Pan Alley had disappeared by the postwar era, the preconceived idea regarding gypsies was apparently alive and well. In songs like Golden Earrings and The Gypsy (and even Cole's own, earlier That Ain't Right), lovers evaluate their affairs based on tell-tale signs read by gypsies in tea leaves and crystal balls.

I have no idea if the tradition presented in A Blossom Fell is a genuine gypsy custom, or if it was invented wholly for the song. In fact, it's kind of an awkward idea, one of those concepts that's so goofy, I would almost like to think it really was part of the folklore of real-life Romany. According to the lyric, if two lovers are sitting beneath a tree, exchanging vows of affection, and a blossom happens to fall off a branch and touch the lips of one of the two lovers, it means he or she isn't telling the truth when he or she says he loves him or her.

It's an awkward idea to express in song, and make no mistake, it is very awkwardly expressed. The song opens, "A blossom fell / From off a tree / It settled softly / On the lips you turned to me." That's the A section, and the last two lines are very cumbersome. They make little sense when you read them in print, especially considering that even if this is a genuine gypsy tradition, it's certainly one that not many people would be familiar with. As the late Sammy Cahn once observed, it's a mortal sin for a lyricist to put something in a line that has to be explained: a songwriter's job is to make his point immediately understandable, and if it's deep and profound, like Cole Porter or Alan Jay Lerner, so much the better.

The most obvious point was that only a really top drawer vocal artist - a Cole, a Sinatra, a Clooney, a Holiday - could take a lyric like this and not only make it crystal clear, but sing it so compellingly that millions of listeners would want to rush out and buy the single. As he so often did, Cole compensates for any inadequacies a text might have - he puts over exactly what the lyricist wanted to say even on those frequent occasions where the lyric is lacking. The lyric needs help, and it gets it.

Arranger-conductor Nelson Riddle does the same for the melody: he opens with a glorious string flourish that actually suggests the wind blowing threw leaves and branches in a cherry orchard with blossoms falling all over the place. The secondary voice on Blossom is valve trombonist Juan Tizol, who appears frequently on Cole's sessions in the mid-'50s, most prominently on the 1956 album 'After Midnight.' (When Cole remade the arrangement in 1961, he took the chart slightly slower and replaced the valve trombone with the customary slide instrument.) Yet Riddle doesn't deserve all the credit; Cole, more than nearly all other pop singers, had a unique capacity for improving any melody, for emphasizing the parts of the tune that worked and minimizing its shortcomings. It's no insult to Sinatra to say that, for all his musical strengths (including a remarkable sense of timing), that he had to take a backseat to Cole in the realm of pure melody. The only major singers who compete with Cole in this respect were Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. But neither of those grand divas was the interpreter that Cole was.

Bing Crosby or Carmen McRae could have sung A Blossom Fell and put the meaning across, but Cole does something I don't feel any other singer could have possibly done with it, and that is to make us believe it. Cole sings it as if he was imparting wisdom gained from actual experience, and he makes the words and music sound unique to his idiom. As much as I love Sinatra, I somehow don't think he could convince me that he exists in this particular world - a stylistic universe where liars can be readily identified by the blossoms sticking to their prevaricatin' lips. I don't mean that at all disingenuously: Cole makes you believe it in the most literal and direct way. There never would have been any Watergate or Monica-gate in this world, because Nixon and Clinton would have had blossoms all over their faces.

Nat Cole is the kind of talent that's hard to fully fathom in the world of 21st century popular culture - where almost nothing means what it's supposed to mean. Everything in the millennial era would appear to be ironic or sarcastic, a series of codes where meaning is hidden and nothing is obvious. Yet Cole is precisely the opposite: when he sings about blossoms falling on the lips of liars, he doesn't mean it metaphorically, he isn't singing symbolically, he means exactly what he sings.

In fact, the song is precisely suited to Cole, not Sinatra or anyone else, great as they may be, simply because in this world that he creates, Cole himself would never have a blossom stuck to his own lips. If the song has any kind of symbolism at all, it's that which describes the singer himself.

That, in fact, is the central tenet of Cole's music. Sinatra, contrastingly, was about singing great songs with multiple levels of meaning - songs with deep gray areas between black and white, like Glad To Be Unhappy. Even when Sinatra sings something simple, he makes it deeper and more complicated, and adds in gradations of feeling - Johnny Hodges-like microtones and emotional glissandos in between points A and B. Cole, on the other hand is more direct. Sinatra can take a simple song and make it profound; Cole takes a complex song and makes it simple...

Nat King Cole 1955-1959 Vol.1 (11-CD)
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Cole, Nat 'King' - Eight Classic Albums (4-CD) CD 1
01 Cachito
02 Maria Elena
03 Quizas, Quizas, Quizas (Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps)
04 Las Mananitas
05 Acercate Mas (Come Closer To Me)
06 El Bodeguero (Grocer's Cha Cha)
07 Arrivederci Roma
08 Noche De Ronda
09 Tu Me Delirio
10 Te Quiero, Dijiste (Magic Is The Moonlight)
11 Adelita
12 The Very Thought Of You
13 But Beautiful
14 Impossible
15 I Wish I Knew
16 I Found A Million Dollar Baby
17 Magnificent Obsession
18 My Heart Tells Me
19 Paradise
20 This Is All I Ask
21 Cherie, I Love You
22 Making Believe You're Here
23 Cherchez La Femme
24 For All We Know
25 The More I See You
Cole, Nat 'King' - Eight Classic Albums (4-CD) CD 2
01 Overture (Introducing Love Theme)-Hesitating Blues
02 Harlem Blues
03 Chantez Les Bas
04 Friendless Blues
05 Stay
06 Joe Turner's Blues
07 Beale Street Blues
08 Careless Love
09 Morning Star
10 Memphis Blues
11 Yellow Dog Blues
12 St Louis Blues
13 To Whom It May Concern
14 Lovewise
15 Too Much
16 In The Heart Of Jane Doe
17 A Thousand Thoughts Of You
18 You're Bringing Out The Dreamer In Me
19 My Hearts Treasure
20 If You Said No
21 Can't Help It
22 Lovesville
23 Unfair
24 This Morning It Was Summer
Cole, Nat 'King' - Eight Classic Albums (4-CD) CD 3
01 Welcome To The Club
02 Anytime, Anyday, Anywhere
03 The Blues Don't Care
04 Mood Indigo
05 Baby, Won't You Please Come Home
06 The Late, Late Show
07 Avalon
08 She's Funny That Way
09 I Want A Little Girl
10 Wee Baby Blues
11 Look Out For Love
12 Ay, Cosita Linda
13 Aquellos Ojos Verdes
14 Suas Maos
15 Capullito De Aleli
16 Caboclo Do Rio
17 Fantastico
18 Nadie Me Ama
19 Yo Vendo Unos Ojos Negros
20 Perfidia
21 El Choclo
22 Ansiedad
23 Nao Tenho Lagrimas
Cole, Nat 'King' - Eight Classic Albums (4-CD) CD 4
01 Every Time I Feel The Spirit
02 I Want To Be Ready
03 Sweet Hour Of Prayer
04 Ain't Gonna Study War No More
05 I Found The Answer
06 Standin' In The Need Of Prayer
07 Oh, Mary, Don't You Weep
08 Go Down Moses
09 Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen
10 In The Sweet By And By
11 I Couldn't Hear Nobody Pray
12 Steal Away
13 Tell Me All About Yourself
14 Until The Real Thing Comes Along
15 The Best Thing For You
16 When You Walked By
17 Crazy She Calls Me
18 You've Got The Indian Sign On Me
19 For You
20 Dedicated To You
21 You Are My Love
22 This Is Always
23 My Life
24 (I Would Do) Anything For You