Nat “King” Cole – Love is the Thing {Capitol} “Analogue Productions”

Review by Lindsay Planer (

Nat King Cole’s collaborations with Gordon Jenkins rank among the finest from either artist or arranger. Love Is the Thing (1957) — Cole’s first stereophonic long player — topped the album charts for eight weeks and remains the epitome of the pair’s undeniable compatibility. The opener “When I Fall in Love” is considered by many to be nothing short of definitive. Modern listeners might recall the 1996 Grammy winning remake featuring an electronically created duet with the senior Cole crooning beside his daughter Natalie Cole. On the original, the restrained orchestration perfectly adapts to the singer’s verdant vocals. Similarly, “Stardust” sparkles as a flawless musical alliance is formed with Cole’s warm and inviting narrative weaving over Jenkins’ intimate score. Simply stated, both songs are unmitigated masterworks — and we’re only two cuts into the dozen-song LP. Another key to the project’s success is Jenkins ability to rein in just enough instrumentation to support Cole’s uniformly restrained leads. Examples abound throughout, with “Stay as Sweet as You Are,” “At Last,” and the rural sophistication of “When Sunny Gets Blue.” The heartfelt “Love Letters” and even the comparatively light “Ain’t Misbehavin'” incorporate a sonic synergy as the airy string section glides between Cole’s line by line phrasing. Also worth mentioning is the Jenkins original “I Thought About Marie,” as it sits comfortably beside some of the most time-honored tunes in 20th century popular music.

01 – When I Fall in Love
02 – Stardust
03 – Stay as Sweet as You Are
04 – Where Can I Go Without You?
05 – Maybe it’s Because I Love You Too Much (mono)
06 – Love Letters (mono)
07 – Ain’t Misbehavin’
08 – I Thought About Marie
09 – At Last
10 – It’s All in the Game
11 – When Sunny Gets Blue
12 – Love is the Thing
13 – When I Fall in Love (mono)
14 – Stardust (mono)
15 – Stay as Sweet as You Are (mono)
16 – Where Can I Go Without You? (mono)
17 – Maybe It’s Because I Love You Too Much (mono)
18 – Love Letters (mono)
19 – Ain’t Misbehavin’ (mono)
20 – I Thought About Marie (mono)
21 – At Last (mono)
22 – It’s All in the Game (mono)
23 – When Sunny Gets Blue (mono)
24 – Love is the Thing (mono)

Nat “King” Cole – vocals, with orchestra; arranged & conducted by Gordon Jenkins.

Originally released in 1957 on Capitol Records, LLC, as SW-824.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Nat “King” Cole – The Greatest Hits {Capitol}[DCC]

Review by William Ruhlmann (

For all the resurgence in interest in Nat King Cole since 1991, when his daughter Natalie recorded a duet patching her new vocal with his from 40 years earlier and scored a gold-selling hit, Capitol Records lacked a single-disc hits collection that covered Cole’s most successful singles for the label. This 22-track, 62-plus minute CD/cassette collection does the trick. Cole scored 21 Top Ten hits between 1944 and 1963, and 19 of them are here, from “Straighten Up and Fly Right” to “Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer.” The only ones missing are seasonal hits, “The Christmas Song” and “Frosty the Snow Man.” In their places, you get the original and later versions of “Unforgettable” (neither of which, as it happens, quite made the Top Ten). You also get Cole’s four number one songs, “Mona Lisa,” “Nature Boy,” “(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons,” and “Too Young,” along with such memorable tunes as “Walkin’ My Baby Back Home,” “Smile,” and “(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66.” The non-chronological sequencing emphasizes the stylistic and qualitative consistency of Cole’s work; it doesn’t much matter if you juxtapose a song recorded in the ’40s (“Nature Boy”) against one recorded in the ’60s (“Ramblin’ Rose”), because you still get the same warmth and assurance in Cole’s singing and the same tastefulness in the arrangements. One might have hoped for more in the way of packaging (there are no liner notes), but this is the single album to buy to hear Nat King Cole’s best-known vocal performances.

01 – Unforgettable
02 – (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66
03 – Orange Colored Sky
04 – Mona Lisa
05 – Walkin’ My Baby Back Home
06 – Straighten Up and Fly Right
07 – Send for Me
08 – Looking Back
09 – You Call it Madness (But I Call it Love)
10 – (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons
11 – Nature Boy
12 – Ramblin’ Rose
13 – Pretend
14 – Too Young
15 – Somewhere Along the Way
16 – Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer
17 – Smile
18 – Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup
19 – Answer Me, My Love
20 – A Blossom Fell
21 – If I May
22 – Unforgettable (Duet with Natalie Cole)

Nat “King” Cole – vocals, piano (with collective personnel)

This compilation, 1998.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork