An Evening with Nat King Cole
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An Evening with Nat King Cole is one of the few Nat "King" Cole concerts ever recorded and arguably the best. All but forgotten in a vault for more than thirty years since its original broadcast in 1961 by the British Broadcasting Company, this captivating show is now available on video for the first time, and in color. With its honest simplicity, "An Evening with Nat King Cole" showcases Nat's ability to touch an audience with his smooth style and gentle grace as seemingly effortless as they are heartfelt. Songs: Day In Day Out, Here's That Rainy Day, The Way You Look Tonight, When I Fall in Love, Aren't You Glad You're You, In the Good Old Summertime, That Sunday (That Summer), Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer, Let There Be Love, It's Only a Paper Moon, Sweet Lorraine, Ramblin' Rose, Mona Lisa, Unforgettable.
Fans of both Nat "King" Coles--the swinging hipster and the mainstream pop crooner--should find something to admire in this TV appearance, first broadcast by the BBC in 1961. The 14-song, roughly 50-minute concert favors the hits that brought Cole his biggest commercial successes in the 1950s and '60s, from the memorable ("Unforgettable" and "Mona Lisa") to the middlebrow ("Ramblin' Rose" and "Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer," which find him barely maintaining his dignity while sporting a straw boater and a ukulele); but those who remember him as a topnotch jazzman are rewarded with a three-song set for which Cole brings out a piano and a quartet and flexes his chops on the likes of "Sweet Lorraine" and "It's Only a Paper Moon." The concert direction is unimaginative and the DVD has no bonus features, but in the end, the inimitable, velvety-smooth voice of Nat "King" Cole needs no extra frills. --Sam Graham
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When the BBC broadcast this show in 1961, "colour" TV did not exist in Britain, and would not for another six years. So this show was broadcast in monochrome (that's English for black and white). This DVD version is in "colour," and there is a friendly debate among Cole fans as to whether the original monochrome print was "colourised," or whether the BBC actually filmed it in "colour" for future use. Looking at the show, the backgrounds appear to be in "colour," whereas most "colourised" shows still have the backgrounds in B&W. I'll take a look at the show again, but I think that we either have an original "colour" print here, or else we have the best "colourisation" job in history.
UPDATE: Since songs such as "That Sunday, That Summer" and "Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer" were performed during this concert, but were not recorded by Nat until 1963, this concert could not possibly be from 1961.
This was shot on black and white videotape at BBC in 1963, possibly even early 1964 (not 1961 as the box states). The evidence for this is clear. A good portion of these songs represent Nat's career in the last 3 years of his life. "Ramblin Rose" was a US hit in August of 1962. "Let There Be Love" was a top 10 smash in the UK that year. "Those Lazy, Hazy Crazy Days of Summer" and "That Sunday, That Summer" were both hits in the summer of 1963.
What makes me believe that this may have been taped in '64 is the fact that Nat sings "Day In, Day Out", which was recorded in 1961, but shelved by Capitol Records until the release of Nat's album "Let's Face the Music" in early 1964. Nat was heavily promoting this track and the album throughout that year, performing "Day In" on the Jack Benny Show and The Hollywood Palace. Also that All Star Refugee Fund gold record album that Nat receives midway through the program was released in early 1963.
What we see here pretty much represents Cole's concert line-up between 1963 and the end of his career/life. It mirrors a taped performance he gave in 1963 in Fresno, California and the performances he gave while hosting "Hollywood Palace" in June of '64. The only difference is that a few of the song selections in "An Evening With..." were custom tailored for a British audience: "Aren't You Glad You're You", "Here's That Rainy Day" and "Let There Be Love" were all big hits on the British charts.
The colorization of this program makes it seem a bit garish and mechanical. It's almost like watching a "SIMS" version of Nat King Cole. Much like the "Twilight Zone", I think the black & white actually adds to the original performance. "An Evening With..." was NOT originally taped in color as another reviewer claimed. The BBC wasn't equipped for color in 1963. The original black & white version appeared on VHS in the mid 1990's and has since been deleted. It's that original B&W version that numerous documentarians have drawn from when profiling Cole's career. I'd like to see THAT version resurrected at some future date. Or perhaps put both versions on the DVD and let the viewer choose.
Also, whoever restored this colorized version added computer generated titles to the beginning, causing Nat to pop into frame from out of nowhere. In the original there were no titles, and Nat simply emerged from behind one of the wall props at the right of the screen.
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I have seen of MR Cole's work, class and charm that exists from the early 1960's.Read more
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