This entry in the Songbook series of Nat "King" Cole compilations, according to Billy Vera's liner notes, is devoted to tracks "from the Cole canon of lost love songs about the ones who lied and who left." In spite of that, it's not a universally downbeat collection, mixing orchestrated ballads (admittedly the dominant musical mode here) with lively jumping tunes and compositions by the likes of Irving Berlin and Hoagy Carmichael, including standards such as "Once in a While" and "Stardust." It's thus not quite as lugubrious as you might anticipate, and a decent group, for what it is, of material highlighting the more pensive and forlorn facets of Cole's repertoire. It has to be questioned as to whether picking up thematic volumes such as this is the best way to build a Cole library, though. No original recording dates or release information are included.
All Music Guide
========= from the cover ==========
If we were to take a look at a list of the dozens of radio and jukebox hit recordings of Nat King Cole one of the first to things to become apparent would be their infinite variety.
And what variety. From the jumping, jiving Straighten Up And Fly Right, to the mystical Nature Boy, the nostalgic Too Young, the lightly rocking Send For Me, and that tale of rue, regret and remorse, Looking Back, right up to Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days Of Summer, from the final year of his all-too-short life, Nat Cole was absolutely fearless in his choice of material... and dead on target in his knowledge of what his millions of fans wanted to hear. I mean, the guy knew. He proved it time and again. The Capitol brass didn't name their tower on Vine Street in the middle of Hollywood "The House That Nat Built" for nothing.
Looking a little deeper, one notices that the vast majority of his hits were of a positive nature. Nat King Cole wasn't about to get broken up by any woman, as Sinatra was when he sang I'm A Fool To Want You. No morbidity for Nat. Leave that to Billie Holiday, who made a fetish out of suffering. For Nat Cole was an entertainer, first and foremost.
But, "entertainer" doesn't quite tell the whole story, either. Remember, Nat was one of the era's finest jazz pianists, one who will be remembered generations hence for his contributions on the Steinway. What is also often overlooked is that he was one of the finest interpreters of wistful, sad ballads. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that when he did choose to sing songs about love gone wrong, he put them on his albums, rather than on the singles, whose job it was to grab those jukebox nickels and dimes.
On this set, we've collected the songs from the Cole canon of lost love, songs about the ones who lied and who left. The treacherous ones who will be missed for a long time. The heartless ones who break hearts without a thought or a glance backward.
Here are the ones with the "Angel Eyes that ol' devil sent." The one he pleads with, "Once In A While, will you try to give one little thought to me?" The one he can't forget because, although 'The Song Is Ended... the melody lingers on." He refuses to believe it's over, so he begs her to Say It Isn't So, but it is so, and soon he'll have to face the fact that There Will Never Be Another You.
Nat is aided and abetted in all this by the 20th century's greatest tunesmiths, Irving Berlin, Harry Warren, Mack Gordon, Hoagy Carmichael, Sammy Cahn, Paul Weston, Matt Dennis and someone known only as E.A. Swan, who wrote only one notable song, one which is, perhaps, the greatest musical expression of the emptiness we feel in the aftermath of a devastating loss, When Your Lover Has Gone.
These guys knew how it felt. The words and music they came up with speak across the decades, letting us know that folks back then felt what we feel when it's over and it's not our choice. And Nat King Cole conveys the full meaning of each song, with none of the mawkishness that will embarrass us later, when we've gotten over it. Nat gives each song what it's worth, nothing more, nothing less. He knows what only the greatest singers of popular song know: pick a great song and then let it do the work for you.