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4.7 out of 5 stars
Unforgettable
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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
When Natalie Cole first launched her career, everyone was expecting her to sing her father Nat's songs, or to sing the type of music, he did later in his career: middle-of-the-road pop. Well, Natalie specifically steered clear of doing that because she wanted to prove that she could make it on her own, and desperately wanted to step out of her father's massive shadow. So she sang straight up R&B, as a disciple of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. She established herself as a top vocalist during the mid '70s and into the '80s but not without some personal troubles.
This CD, UNFORGETTABLE WITH LOVE, gives fans of both Natalie and her dad a treat. No doubt the world greatly misses Nat King Cole; we can't help but think of what would've happened had he lived. But to carry on his legacy is his daughter doing his songs now, even though at one time she didn't want to. But it was time! We might as well keep it in the family, right? Who else is more deserving of covering his material? And Natalie does a wonderful job, too. The technology used to make Natalie sing "Unforgettable" with her dad is nothing new now, but when the CD first came out, everyone was saying, "How did they do that?" And to this day, I get choked up just listening to that duet. Natalie covers 22 of her dad's hits on this CD, such as "That Sunday, That Summer" (another tear-jerker for me), "L-O-V-E", "Mona Lisa", "Thou Swell", "Nature Boy", "The Very Thought Of You" and "Our Love Is Here To Stay". Plus she does a medley of three of her dad's most romantic tunes: "(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons", Tenderly" and "Autumn Leaves". Absolutely beautiful. Natalie, your dad would be proud. Well done, "Sweetie"!
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2000
Natalie Cole's pop albums always featured at least one jazzy, swinging track, so it came as no surprise when she decided, in 1991, to release an all-out tribute to her father, jazz-legend Nat "King" Cole, complete with full orchestra. It serves not only as a strong and fitting tribute to one of music's greatest figures, but as a perfect opportunity for Natalie Cole to expand her horizons...and her fan base.
Let's be honest...they just don't write 'em like they used to, and therefore Natalie never had quite the chance to show off the grace and elegance of her voice as she does on the likes of "The Very Thought of You," "Mona Lisa," and "Our Love is Here to Stay." Producers Andre Fischer, Tommy Lipuma, and David Foster keep Natalie in superior arragements throughout, especially evident on "Too Young" and an exquisite rendition of "Lush Life." There's plenty of swing, too, however: "Paper Moon," "Route 66," and "L-O-V-E" are songs that couldn't be authentically pulled off by just any pop singer, but Natalie more than rises to the challenge. Furthermore the frantically-paced "Avalon" and the midtempo "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," the latter boasting a slick scat, are among the album's best tracks.
But the finest moment comes at the finale: through the wonders of modern technology, Natalie is afforded the opportunity to sing with her father, digitally remastered here to gorgeous effect on the album's title track. Unfortunately, the practice inspired countless, less-appropriate knock-offs (even Natalie reprised the idea two albums later with far less impact) but here, Natalie's obvious love and affection for her father and his music come through tenfold, and we're treated to one of the most beautiful and moving moments in jazz. In summation, a talented daughter pays tribute to her legendary father, singing timeless classics admist top-notch arrangements traditional enough for purists to admire, but accessible enough for pop fans to discover and cherish. "Unforgettable" indeed.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
"Unforgettable" has influence and importance beyond being music's most famous father-daughter dance. Its just-enough contemporizing of some of music's most treasured standards opened many to pre-rock songs for the first time. It also raised not only Natalie's and her father's profile, but of their contemporaries (Louis Armstrong, Sinatra's "Duets" sets) to the point where romantic films like "Sleepless In Seattle" depended on their classic music.
It came down to choices, and "Unforgettable" made all the right ones. Cole and producer Tommy LiPuma joined session musicians from Nat Cole's original recordings (at Capitol studios, yet), with more modern jazzmen like Joe Sample and John Pattitucci. She chose atmospheric arrangements from Michael Legrand, Johnny Mandel and David Foster. She chose her father's early, more swing/jazz/pop material ("Thou Swell," "Avalon," a sweet "Very Thought Of You") over countrified sing-a-longs like "Ramblin' Rose." And rather than repeat her father's warm vocal phrasing, Cole instead reached back to female jazz's Mount Rushmore (Ella, Dinah, Sarah, etc.) and even the sass of her early, R&B hits.
The result is a set that comes closest in tone to the albums Nelson Riddle, Billy May, and Gordon Jenkins arranged at Capitol for that label's legendary pop singers (Cole, Sinatra, Ella, Peggy Lee, Judy Garland in her brief stay there). They raised jazz-influenced vocals to the gold standard of pop. So does "Unforgettable", Natalie Cole's one essential album.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 5, 2002
Every time I listen to Natalie Cole's CD featuring remakes of her father's music, I am amazed by how great it sounds. Natalie's voice is really beautiful on this CD and sounds perfectly tailored for the pop and jazz standards her father made. Recently, I listened to this CD back-to-back with a Nat King Cole greatest hits CD, and I honestly have to say that I prefer Natalie's music. I know that sounds almost blasphemous, but Nat's arrangements tend to be more sedate (reflective of 50's and 60's traditional pop music). Natalie's recordings of this music have more punch. Of course, much of that may be due to improved recording techniques and so forth, but it also has to do with differing vocal styles. Nat was more of a crooner than Natalie. As much as I like Nat King Cole's music, I have to admit that this CD is perhaps even better! That's quite an accomplishment, and this CD should please even Nat's fans.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2003
If you are looking for songs that sound exactly like Nat King Cole sang them, don't buy this album. Buy the original King Cole albums. If on the other hand, you want to hear these old classics done extremely well, this is a great album. Natalie does a fine job on her dad's songs and her voice is wonderful. The title song, "Unforgettable" is indeed. It is the highlight of the album with the fake duo of father and daughter, brought to us by a wonderful mixing technique. The only regret I have is that they didn't mix a few more of the songs in duet. Perhaps it would have gotten tiresome, but hearing just the one leaves you longing for more. This album is perhaps not quite as satisfying as listening to the "King" himself, but is still rates 5 stars. Worth owning just for the "Unforgettable" duet.
The other songs are just icing on the cake. A good buy with 22 songs and a really great accompaying booklet with song history and nice photos.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2004
Recently I purchased the replacement CD copy from Amazon after loaning the original to a friend, who promptly lost it. Oh well. It had been quite some time since I listened to this disc, but upon receiving it in the mail only 4 days after placing my order online (thanks, Amazon -- speedy delivery, as usual), I quickly became re-acquainted with the wonderful songs on this CD. It's like running into a childhood friend where you always discover something new everytime you're together. That's my feeling everytime I listen to this CD.
The song selection is impeccable -- every song so closely identified with Nat "King" Cole during his reign as one of the best singers to ever grace the music world in the 20th century. But what makes these songs special and "Unforgettable" is Natalie Cole's warm, sensual, yet faithful renditions made famous by her dad.
Legend has it that Natalie was first approached to record these songs almost 20 years earlier when she was still not even quite out of college. Apparently music producers and record companies wanted to "Cash In" on the notoriety of the relationship between the Cole family and these songs. But Natalie resisted because she wanted to carve out her own musical identity and distance herself from her dad's legacy. Story goes Natalie was approached time and time again by different producers over the years, but she continued to resist until her mom, Maria, finally encouraged her to just do it. But I think Natalie's own personal experiences with drugs and substance abuse also played a part. Emotionally she wasn't ready until the time was right.
1991 was finally the right time and her producers -- Andre Fischer (former ex), David Foster and Tommy LiPuma -- do a great job bringing in the beautiful lush orchestra to backup Natalie, who certainly doesn't disappoint. She was right in waiting out until the time was right to record these songs. Her painful years battling drugs only add to the nuance and subtlety of her interpretations. She has NEVER sounded better. She doesn't strain for any high notes, yet she hits every single note with ease and doesn't overpower the music, but lets the music speak for itself. Her renditions are right up there alongside the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, and Sarah Vaughan.
Personal favorites from this immaculate CD are: "That Sunday, That Summer" "Orange Color Sky" "Lush Life" "Very Thought of You" the very moving "Smile" and of course the "duet" with her dad on "Unforgettable". Natalie notes with pride in the CD jacket that "Smile" was written especially for her dad by the one and only Charlie Chaplin.
Thanks for making an "Unforgettable" CD, Natalie. Even 13 years after you recorded these songs, they're still timeless. And they always will be.
This CD may stand out as the cherry on top of a delicious cake. It is your Finest Hour as an Artist.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2010
If you have ever asked yourself "why don't they make music the way they used to?", give this CD a try. Anyone who loves good music will find something on this collection they will like. Natalie's voice is as smooth as vanilla ice cream and the dynamic range of her voice is as impressive as it gets. The arrangement and production of the music is beyond fantastic. I love the selection of songs she chose to cover on this album, there are 22 gems here. Each is backed up with big band sound, top notch production and perfect mixing. My favorite track is "Orange Colored Sky". Natalie nails the mood of the song perfectly and frankly she out does her father's version. "Route 66", "Straighten-up and Fly Right" are great cuts too and again Natalie does justice to her father's versions of the standards. Probably the most notable song is the outstanding electronic wizardry of "Unforgettable". Natalie's duet with her late father is an impressive accomplishment but it's not the only reason to purchase this CD. Fourteen Million copies have sold so far and it is no mystery why. There is a lot here to please any music lover or audiophile.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 1999
I listened to this tape over and over while working 8 hours a day in a bookstore, and never once got sick of Natalie's beautiful voice. If you like jazz or blues, or even just good music, you'll love this!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2006
From the dreamy, shimmering strings that open this album, to the unforgettable duet between Papa Cole and his talented daughter, Natalie, which closes it, 'UNFORGETTABLE: WITH LOVE' is a gorgeous example of recorded art. It's hard for me to believe that anyone with any musical sense could still be unfamiliar with this hugely popular set, but if you are that someone, then STRAIGHTEN UP AND FLY RIGHT: Get your copy today because it's ALMOST LIKE BEING IN LOVE!

Aside from Natalie Cole's expressive and clear as a Tiffany's crystal water glass vocals, the success of this album lies in Tommy LiPuma's production which flawlessly blends romantic ballads with flat-out joyous Swing numbers, and the updated arrangements of Nat King Cole's hits of decades past, primarily provided by Andre Fischer, Bill Holman, and the deeply soulful Johnny Mandel.

But returning to Natalie's voice: My, oh my, was this gal ever turned on by the concept of this emotional project. On the love ballads, her seductive voice takes you by the hand and pulls you down softly into a gently swaying field of clover and fragrant lavender (e.g., THE VERY THOUGHT OF YOU; OUR LOVE IS HERE TO STAY; and my favorite, THAT SUNDAY THAT SUMMER). But that voice of hers is just as capable of kicking you right in the seat of the pants when it soars through the atmosphere on the energetic Swing tunes that blast off like rockets to distant galaxies! Crank up ORANGE COLORED SKY, AVALON, ALMOST LIKE BEING IN LOVE, and THOU SWELL. You think your favorite "Alternative" band rocks harder? Think again! Yeah, it's driven by horns instead of electric guitars, but it's the same intensity, just far superior musicianship. Now you know why this Hard Rock junkie from the 1970s eventually turned to Jazz instead.

And speaking of instrumentalists: You've got Ray Brown on bass; Joe Sample on piano; Chuck Findley on trumpet; and Pete Christlieb and David "Fathead" Newman on saxophones. Folks, these are some of the best in the business!

And as if all this wasn't enough, you've got the beautifully haunting and philosophical, NATURE BOY on this set - a song that contains the poignant lyric that actually offers the true meaning of life: "The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to Love and be Loved in return."

HEY YOU! Yeah you - the doofus with the baseball cap on sideways and the untied shoelaces dragging on the ground (Gomer Pyle was the first guy to wear a cap sideways, and you look every bit as "cool" as he did).
You think "music" goes KA-THUMP!...KA-THUMP!...KA-THUMP!...KA-THUMP!? Wrong, dude. Sit down and give Natalie Cole a listen with your girlfriend beside you - the one with the gold bar through her eyebrow and the tattoo on her chest. (Man! She's uglier and more masculine looking than an AWOL sailor on a two-week binge!) This is what a soul sista with REAL talent can do, kiddies! (If I'm right, does it really matter that I'm also a music dogmatist?)

Recording her versions of her Dad's standards on 'UNFORGETTABLE: WITH LOVE' was obviously a very sentimental project for Natalie; the album tugs at my heartstrings, too. It was a birthday gift from my Ma (may she rest in Peace), and it contains the bittersweet, SMILE - the first song my Pa used to get my attention while he was "dying" in the hospital. Since his "death", he has contacted me innumerable times by using the music of Nat King Cole. (No, your loved ones don't really "die", and yes, they can reach you if you're paying attention with Faith.)

Accompanying the CD is a booklet with 8 neat photos and extensive liner notes that include Natalie's lovely acknowledgment of God's blessings in her life. [*Very cool, Cole!] I'd have given this album 5 Stars, but the great music comes to an end every seventy-three minutes and fifteen seconds.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 26, 2003
I'm glad that Tommy LiPuma and Natalie Cole came up with this wonderful project. This album covers a fine collection of timeless ballads, the very same songs that the legendary Nat King Cole recorded and popularized some 30 years ago. Even the line-up of the songs, they are exactly the same order as her father's "The Unforgettable Nat King Cole." Of course, there's no comparison between the father and daughter. Both are equally talented and artistic in their own styles. My first Natalie Cole CD is "I've Got Love On My Mind." I got it in the early '90s because I want to hear how she interpreted my all-time favorite, "Stairway To The Stars." It was more than what I expected, hers is the best interpretation I have ever heard. I was thinking then that she would do great with the standards. I'm glad that she finally recorded these classics.

The finale,"Unforgettable," is astounding, simply put, it's a marvel! You know how you always save the best for last? This track is the cream of the crop, amazing "digitally remastered" duet! Honorable mentions and my topmost choices are, George and Ira Gershwin's "Our Love Is Here To Stay," orchestral arrangement by Johnny Mandel; Ray Noble's "The Very Thought Of You," arranged by Michel Legrand; Bob Russell and Duke Ellington's "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," arranged by Bill Holman; and the medley of "For Sentimental Reasons"/ "Tenderly"/ "Autumn Leaves," arranged by Marty Paich.

In my opinion, this album is by far the best she ever recorded. With 22 timeless and romantic classics rendered beautifully by "The Other Cole" and backed up by the finest musicians the industry ever produced, this will surely be a classic in the making. It's a keeper. You'll enjoy listening to it!
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