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Audio CD, Import, Original recording reissued, March 22, 2000
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(1987/Capitol) 15 tracks
Twilight On The Trail
I Don't Want It That Way
He'll Have To Go
When You're Smiling
Dear Lonely Hearts
All Over The World
All By Myself
Goodnight, Irene, Goodnight
Your Cheatin' Heart
One Has My Name The Other Has My Heart
Skip To My Lou
The Good Times
Sing Another Song (And We'll All Go Home)
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The style is pure early sixties pop which means lots of strings, a vocal chorus and a Floyd Cramer-style piano. The overall style of production is much like what you would find on a TV variety show, a style that at that time was heavily influenced by Columbia's A&R man, Mitch Miller, who had his own popular TV show. The style is very bright and straightforward in a way that makes it a perfect example of the innocent era in which it was made and which doesn't really translate well today. For this reason it's an album mostly for those who remember the early sixties and probably had the album and played it to death like I did. Recent Nat King Cole collections often skip over this period, preferring the romantic ballad and jazz sides of his vast catalog. The "Very Best of" (2006), which is the top of the page best seller here doesn't even have "Ramblin' Rose" on it.
Once you put on the album, it's a very relaxed and sunny experience that will take you back to those days immediately. Nat is especially effective on Jim Reeves' "He'll Have To Go" and Hank Williams' "Your Cheatin' Heart". "Twilight On the Trail" is fun, complete with horse clip-clops and there's even a rendition of Claude King's "Wolverton Mountain", a big hit earlier that year. I would have preferred more solidly country material to old songs like "When You're Smiling", "Goodnight Irene" and "Skip To My Lou" which can sound a bit hokey today. Still, listening to this album always leaves me smiling and is a sure cure for even my grumpiest moods, and if you ever had this album you'll be glad to have it again.
EXTRA NOTE: Maybe there was a deluxe version of this album that had "Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer" on it, but otherwise, being a hit from the early summer of 1963 and was always on its own album. It can be hard to find for reasons I went into above, but is included on the 1994 "Greatest Hits" album.