Songs from St. Louis Blues/Looking Back
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In 1958, Nat played legendary composer W.C. Handy in the film St. Louis Blues and, Songs from St. Louis Blues was the album that accompanied its release. However, these performances of Handy tunes are NOT the versions from the soundtrack (which is maybe a good thing if you ve seen this lifelessly-scripted movie), but fresh creations courtesy of Cole and Nelson Riddle that combine the composer s blues sensibility with an updated, late- 50s big band sound. Similarly, our reissue here of Looking Back , the posthumously-released 1965 collection of singles and rarities, eliminates the after-the-fact rhythm tracks that Dave Cavanaugh added in order to make the material sound more contemporary in favor of the unvarnished sound of Nat King Cole (though three of these songs are stereo re-records Nat made in 1961 for The Nat King Cole Story ). Aside from those, this reissue of Looking Back marks the first time these songs have been heard in their original, pure form since they were initially issued on singles and EPs.
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“He is gone where the Southern cross the Yellow Dog”- "Yellow Dog Blues" by W. C. Handy and Bessie Smith
Hall of Fame innovative singer & jazz pianist Nat King Cole was a distinctive vocalist whose smooth baritone stylings generated his big-selling career popular music success for Capitol records: the distinctive Capitols records building in Hollywood is know as the ‘building Nat Cole built’ through his many hits. But it was as a jazz and soul song stylist that Cole created his early success with songs such as “Get Your Kicks on Route 66”. On Cole’s acting debut as legendary blues man W. C. Handy in the movie “St. Louis Blues”, he also joins forces with arranger/conductor Nelson Riddle and his orchestra to produce these winsome tunes based on the music from the soundtrack.
The 'best of the best' begins with a lovely, soaring “Overture (Medley) Love Theme” which is a beautiful brass & reed-driven, string-laden theme that gives way to Cole singing the lovely, “Hesitating Blues” with great lyrics, all wrapped within the same track. Songs from St Louis Blues contains some marvelous blues and popular music that could have been lost in time, but have made the jump to MP3 as a tribute to W. C. Handy based on the musical prowess of Nat King Cole, Nelson Riddle, and a bevy of talented musicians in the orchestra with strings. Cole’s persuasive, gentle “Stay” pleads for someone who is leaving. “Memphis Blues”, the awesome 'song within a song' “Yellow Dog Blues”, and the famous “St. Louis Blues” are outstanding examples of Cole’s smooth blues 'with an edge' delivery. My Highest Recommendation. Five EASY-RIDER Stars! (12 tracks. Time-28:49)