As an introduction to their new "Songbook Series," Capitol has reeled together a sampling of one of the greatest interpreters of the Great American Songbook. On this CD (one of two in the Cole-ection), Cole takes listeners on a musical trip through WWII era celluloid history. From the crisp phrasing of "I'm Shooting High" and the lyrical recitation of "Love Letters" to the string-fed themes of "An Affair to Remember" and the reluctant romance of "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face," this collection demonstrates Cole's command of both music and mood. Lerner and Lowe's "Almost Like Being in Love" swings at a peppy pace while Waller's "Ain't Misbehavin'" floats along on Cole's warm vocal breezes. Though the movies may not all be that memorable (anyone have Hello Frisco Hello on DVD?), the voice is unmistakable and can now be conveniently preserved for future generations of music lovers to treasure.
All Music Guide
========= from the cover ==========
In the years before pop music became synonymous with music made for teenyboppers many of our most popular songs derived from movies and Broadway shows. The Gershwins, Porters and Kerns wrote sophisticated lyrics and memorable melodies for educated grown-ups; they weren't encouraged to "write down" to the least common denominator.
Ultimately, sometime in the early '60s, vulgarity won out, the turning point coming about the time legendary record producer Phil Spector, the "Tycoon of Teen," turned to his engineer one day and said, "Do you think it's dumb enough?"
As late as the '50s, there were still singers like Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee and Nat King Cole, whose stock in trade were the great songs from the golden age of stage and screen.
We've chosen for you eighteen examples of stellar songwriting from that golden age, some familiar and a few tasty, obscure gems to delight even the most jaded collector of show tunes. All are sung to perfection by Mr. Cole and arranged by some of Capitol's finest, including Nelson Riddte, Billy May, Gordon Jenkins and Les Baxter. During the Great Depression, Americans forgot their troubles for a few hours at the movies. The lush sets and expensive wardrobe of the dance extravaganzas of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers gave folks hope for a better tomorrow. Swing Time and FOllow The Fleet, both from 1936, featured exquisite dance routines by Fred and Ginger to Pick Yourself Up and Let's Face The Music And Dance, respectively.
Alice Faye, the great sad-faced movie star, sang I'm Shooting High in 1935's King Of Burlesque, which co-starred Warner Baxter and Jack Oakie. Faye sang the Academy Award - winning You'll Never Know in 1943's Hello Frisco Hello, which co-starred John Payne and again, Oakie.
From the Broadway stage comes Cole Porter's Just One Of Those Things, from 1935's Jubilee, starring Mary Boland and featuring a very young Montgomery Clift. The only stage show in his lifetime featuring the music of Duke Ellington was Jump For Joy, which enjoyed a brief but influential run at Los Angeles's Mayan Theater in 1941. I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good) was the revue's show-stopping hit, as sung by Ivie Anderson. Fats Waller's Ain't Misbehavin' comes from the musical revue, Hot Chocolates Of 1929, and was revived decades later as the title tune of a highly successful show.
Here come those rarities we promised. Should I was performed in two early talkies, 1929's OUR Modern Maidens, with Joan Crawford, Rod LaRocque and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., and 1930's Lord Byron Of Broadway. The song was sung in the 1930 picture by now-forgotten stars Charles Kaley and Ethelind Terry. O.K. For TV is from Johnny Mercer's 1951 Broadway musical send-up, Top Banana, starring Phil Silvers.
Also by Mercer, I Remember You is from 1942's The Fleet's In, starring William Holden and Dorothy Lamour, who sings the tune with swing-era favorites Bob Eberty and Helen O'Connell with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra. Another wartime movie is 1945's Thrill Of Romance, with Van Johnson and Esther Williams, from which came I Should Care.
Spring Is Here is from the 1938 show, I Married An Angel, which in 1942 was remade as the last film starring Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald. Nat sings Love Letter's, from the Jennifer Jones/Joseph Gotten wartime film of the same name, a couple of years before it became a juke box hit by Ketty Lester.
The immediate post-war period brought darker, more serious film fare like ROAD HOUSE, in which Ida Lupino croaks her soulful way through Again. Asked who had dubbed the voice for Lupino, studio chief Harry Conn reputedly replied, "Do you think I'd pay anybody to sing like that?"
Lerner and Loewe wrote a pair of Broadway musicals at the tail end of the golden era, 1947's Brigadoon and My Fair Lady from 1956. Both were made into movies in 1954 and 1964, respectively. The former starred Van Johnson, Cyd Charisse and Gene Kelly, who sings Almost Like Being In Love, a tune Nat Cole often used to open his shows. My Fair Lady, the movie, stars Audrey Hepburn inthe Julie Andrews role of Eliza Doolittle and, reprising his role as Professor Henry Higgins, Rex Harrison, who sings I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face.
The Party's Over comes from the 1956 show, Bells Are Ringing, which starred Judy Holiday, who also appears with Dean Martin in the 1960 film version, which proved to be Miss Holiday's final screen appearance.
From the looks of things, we will never again see the likes of these great movies and stage shows. Nor will we ever again hear such songs as these on me hit parade. But as long as there is an audience for quality songs sung by great interpretive artists such as Nat King Cole, these songs will never die.