Nat King Cole The Nat King Cole Story 180g 45rpm 5LP Box Set
TAS Super LP List! Special Merit: Informal
2010 Stereophile Magazine Record to Die For!
Featured in Michael Fremer's Heavy Rotation in the February 2010 Issue of Stereophile!
Cut from the Original 3-Track Master Tapes!
Mastered by Kevin Gray and Steve
Hoffman at AcousTech Mastering.
Click Here to read Michael Fremer's essay on the Nat King Cole Mastering efforts!
One of Nat "King" Cole's crowning achievements and a fittingly lavish
celebration of a cultural and musical icon, The Nat "King" Cole Story offers a
glorious overview of the career of one of the greatest and most beloved
performers in popular music history. 38 tracks, many re-recorded in stereo for
this anthology, offer a selection spanning his popular career.
His beginnings leading the popular jazz-oriented Nat "King" Cole Trio are
represented with selections including "Route 66" and "I Love You (For
Sentimental Reasons)." Hits including "Nature Boy," "Mona Lisa,"
"Unforgettable," "Orange Colored Sky," "Night Lights" and "Looking Back" are
here to represent his unparalleled string of memorable hits as a popular
vocalist. "Calypso Blues" and "Ay Cosita Linda" help illustrate the range his
projects could cover. More contemporary to this anthology, selections including
"Wild Is Love" are augmented here with two huge hits as a special bonus, "Ramblin'
Rose" and "Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer" to further expand the scope.
A talent and voice for all times with a body of work that could and did help
define their eras, Nat "King" Cole's career offers some of the finest, most
enduring and treasured recordings ever made. Nat "King" Cole could never be
fully served by any one set. But this wonderful cornucopia stands as a fantastic
celebration for the enthusiast and a good starting point for someone just
beginning to explore The Nat "King" Cole Story.
Using the original first generation 2-track and 3-track session tapes from
Capitol's vaults and all-analogue systems including custom headstacks, 3-track
preview heads, console and monitoring chain installed at AcousTech specially for
these releases, mastering engineers Kevin Gray and Steve Hoffman realize the
stunning beauty of these recordings in this 45-RPM 180-gram five album set.
Originally presented as a deluxe box set of 3 LPs in a canvas-bound embossed box
with essays and pictures included in a album-sized booklet, The Nat "King" Cole
Story was a prestigious release Capitol took obvious pride in. Complete with 5
LPs, canvas-bound embossed box and booklet with essays and pictures, Analogue
Productions proudly recreates the experience for a new generation to cherish
with this deluxe release. This truly is a no-expenses-spared project, resulting
in the ultimate version of this title and a historic reissue.
There are 38 songs in this collection. Of those, three are the same recordings
included on other Analogue Productions Nat "King" Cole reissues. "Stardust"
(track 28) is the same version included on Love Is The Thing. "St. Louis Blues"
(track 30) is the same version included on the album of that title. And
"Paradise" (track 33) is the same version included on The Very Thought Of You.
Three more songs - "Sweet Lorraine," "It's Only A Paper Moon" and "(Get Your
Kicks On) Route 66" - are songs that appear on After Midnight, however these
versions are stereo re-recordings of the original arrangements from the 1940s.
"...mastered from the original three-track work tapes is a sonic spectacular
that outdoes the original by a wide margin - as does its packaging... A major
reissue." - Stereophile Records To Die For - Michael Fremer, Stereophile,
"The results on this (five) 45rpm 180g LP set are simply astonishing,
particularly if you’ve heard the originals. The transparency, dynamics and
three-dimensionality create the intense sensation of being in the studio with
the musicians and especially with Cole who appears as a visceral, floating
apparition between the speakers. The size and three-dimensionality of the vocal
image produces the sensation of the listener being a “fly on the microphone mike
stand” listening to Cole perform, surrounded by the musicians." - Michael
Fremer, www.musicangle.com, Music 10, Sound 11
• 5 LP set
• 180g 45rpm
• Cut from the Original 3-Track Master Tapes!
• Mastered by Kevin Gray and Steve Hoffman at AcousTech Mastering
• Canvas-bond Embossed Box
• Booklet features essays and pictures
1. Straighten Up And Fly Right
2. Sweet Lorraine
3. It's Only A Paper Moon
4. (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66
5. (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons
6. The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You)
7. Nature Boy
8. Lush Life
9. Calypso Blues
10. Mona Lisa
11. Orange Colored Sky
12. Too Young
14. Somewhere Along The Way
15. Walkin’ My Baby Back Home
17. Blue Gardenia
18. I Am In Love
19. Answer Me, My Love
21. Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup
22. The Sand And The Sea
23. If I May
24. A Blossom Fell
25. To The Ends Of The Earth
26. Night Lights
29. Send For Me
30. St. Louis Blues
31. Looking Back
32. Non Dimenticar (Don’t Forget)
34. Oh, Mary, Don’t You Weep
35. Ay, Cosita Linda
36. Wild Is Love (spoken intro and song)
37. Ramblin’ Rose
38. Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days Of Summer
||A Treat, But Not The AP Nat Reissue Id Start With...
|The mastering that Steve Hoffman did for the Nat King Cole series is astonishingly great, for the most part. Instead of going back to the master 2-track EQd master tapes, he went all the way back to the original recording session tapes and then mixed down LIVE to the lacquers, skipping a step entirely. The sound is SO close to master recording tape sound, its ridiculous.
The one knock down, sonically, is that during the mastering of the trio cuts, Steve Hoffman mixes Nat so much up front with his piano and gives so much space to the other instruments that the balance is off for the solos guitar is closer up on the original and closer in volume to the piano, while the piano is more up front and guitar softer and farther back in this reissue. Tough to do live, for sure, though. A screw-up or wrong decision results in throwing out the lacquers.
I give 5 stars, the highest rating to the other albums in the series, but while the recreation of the original packaging is first rate, not all of the original recordings were equally top notch. They range from very good to amazing, but it does add to a bit of inconsistency of sound quality. Furthermore, the original concept of the album, to both provide an overview to Nats career as well as record in the best stereo possible many early recordings were mono only, you got new performances, and not all of the new performances, in my opinion, are as good as the original performances. Finally, some of the very late work Nat died of lung cancer at 46 was shmaltzy Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer and Ramblin Rose. Nat could swing as well as anyone, and even his ballads have a bit of a sense of swing in the original performances.
Personally, Id start with the album Love Is The Thing if you want the balladeer side of Nat. If you want to hear the more swinging side of Nat, get After Midnight and St. Louis Blues.|
|- Jeff Bellin, MA|