In many ways, the last five years of Nat King Cole's recording career was his most successful period: despite the insurgence of rock 'n' roll and other non-traditional pop musics, Nat King Cole was riding higher than ever. He had more big hits in these years than ever before, and he mastered the technique of turning hit singles into best selling albums. The years 1960-1964 found Cole collaborating extensively with a new and outstanding musical director, the highly talented Ralph Carmichael, as well as creating some of his best-remembered albums with old friends like Billy May and Gordon Jenkins. There also were wonderful one-shot projects like his team-up with the great pianist George Shearing and Cole's only official live recording.
This second 11-CD set is the first complete collection of all of Nat King Cole's recordings from the final half-decade of his career, a total of 292 masters. The set includes all of the following albums, in many cases including rare 'bonus' material from the same sessions: Nat King Cole's only in-concert recording, 'Live At The Sands' (1960) ' universally regarded as one of the great live albums of all time. 'Wild Is Love' '
Nat King Cole's only original-story concept album, containing the classic title song, and his last collaboration with the great arranger Nelson Riddle (1960). 'The Magic Of Christmas' ' The King's only all-original Christmas concept album, a collection of traditional carols that marked his first project with the wonderful musical director Ralph Carmichael (1960). 'The Touch Of Your Lips' ' One of Cole's all-time greatest ballad albums, with sumptuous arrangements by the brilliant Mr. Carmichael (1960). 'Nat King Cole Sings / George Shearing Plays' ' Another brilliant collection of love songs, Cole's only meeting with the marvelous jazz pianist, backed by more deluxe string arrangements from Ralph Carmichael ' including many bonus tracks (1961). 'The Nat King Cole Story' ' Nat King Cole's massive autobiographical statement of 1961, in which he recreated his classic hits of the '40s and '50s in state of the art stereo with the original orchestrations in an elaborate three-LP package ' including several bonus tracks. 'Let's Face The Music!' ' Cole's last teaming with his old chum Billy May proved to be one of the hardest-swinging albums of his career, in which he not only swung the hell out of 12 great songs but contributed five solos (the only ones of his career) on electric organ (1961)! 'More Cole Espanol' ' Nat King Cole's final Spanish-language album brought him South of the border to Mexico City, both musically and literally! With Ralph Carmichael (1962). 'Ramblin' Rose' ' Nat King Cole's first mega-hit of this period, a blockbuster country song 'by two Jewish boys from Brooklyn' that became one of his all-time best-sellers and led to an equally succesful album (1962). 'Dear Lonely Hearts' ' The second of Nat King Cole's country albums. (1962). 'Where Did Everyone Go' ' The only time that Nat King Cole recorded a set of saloon-and-suicide songs in the style of
Frank Sinatra's 'Only The Lonely.' An all-time classic if under-appreciated album of quality pop music, orchestrated in high style by the great Gordon Jenkins and featuring several all-time Nat King Cole classics, such as the title song and the haunting I Keep Going Back To Joe's (1962). 'My Fair Lady' ' Nat King Cole's marvelous but little-known recording of the complete score to the 1956 classic musical by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Lowe, with marvelous orchestrations by Ralph Carmichael (1963). Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days Of Summer, one of the biggest hits of the early '60s, and a song that all but defined an era, expanded into a marvelous sing-a-long album ' 12 warmly nostalgic songs of the good old summertime, featuring Nat King Cole, Carmichael's orchestra and a large chorus. Includes That Sunday, That Summer, among the most beautiful songs Nat King Cole recorded in the later period (1963). 'I Don't Want To Be Hurt Anymore ' ' Cole's final country album, the most modern sounding of the three, with sophisticated charts by Ralph Carmichael, and including many bonus tracks and singles (1964). L-O-V-E Nat King Cole's last hit was a German import by Bert Kaempfert that he and Ralph Carmichael worked into a classic album, all of hard-swinging, Basie-esque love songs with a continental flavor. Nat King Cole's final album featured some of the best singing (and swinging!) of his entire career. Plus over 40 singles, nearly none of them ever reissued on LP or CD, including some wonderful, hidden gems, such as : - Several outstanding showtunes, such as Look No Further from 'No Strings,' and Magic Moment from 'The Gay Life.' -
Nat King Cole's little-known 1960 reunion session with Stan Kenton and his Orchestra.
Nat King Cole's only date with arranger Richard Wess, which resulted in the swinging 'Cappuccina'.
A marvelous selection of foreign language versions of his hit songs, most never commonly available in any country! - Several outstanding movie songs, including Nat King Cole's vocals from his last film, the classic comedy-western 'Cat Ballou.'
Most of these singles tracks have only been heard in the last 40 years with over-dubbed rhythm section ' this package marks their first compilation in the orginal, untampered masters, as they were meant to be heard.
The hardcover book features the usual Bear Family amenities: 184 pages of full-color photos from the Capitol vault, extensive analysis and background by Will Friedwald, the definitive Nat King Cole scholar, as well as a complete discography and tune index by Michel Ruppli, Jordan Taylor, Russell Wapensky & Richard Weize.