The World of Nat King Cole

by: Nat King Cole

Easily the longest of any Capitol single-disc compilation, 2005's The World of Nat King Cole also benefits from a fresh remastering of its material to make it the best introduction to the interpretive brilliance of Nat King Cole. Nearly all the hits that need to be here are indeed present: "Straighten Up and Fly Right," "Route 66," "Nature Boy," "Too Young," and "Mona Lisa." The compilers also wisely chose a few representative songs to replace some of the middling hits; the only surprise is the absence of "The Christmas Song" and "Lush Life," although the chart hits -- "Answer Me, My Love," "Pretend," "Looking Back," and the much-maligned "Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer" -- are missing for good reasons. In their places are excellent selections like "Let There Be Love" from a 1961 George Shearing collaboration, "Thou Swell" from Cole's 1960 LP at the Sands hotel in Las Vegas, his sublime 1956 version of "Stardust," and the ghost duet on "Unforgettable" between Nat and daughter Natalie Cole that earned seven Grammy awards in 1992. The liner notes include many great photographs as well as an essay written by Natalie. ~ John Bush

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