Nat King Cole – The Christmas Song
If you only want one CHRISTMAS cd in your collection, you simply must choose this one. NAT and CHRISTMAS are linked together.This cd was beautifully remastered in 1999 and will pass the test of time forever.You may have listened to many CHRISTMAS albums in your lifetime,but very few have this overall quality of singing with a nice display of harmony behind it.What distinguished NAT is his great sensibility that always transpired in his best recordings.You’ll want to comeback to it year after year.Only FRANK SINATRA’s 1957 offering comes close in matching this classic for the ages.A big mistake for you would be to listen to it alone after many drinks.The tears just might come to you.
Singing traditional Christmas songs with dignity and feeling, this Nat King Cole holiday album gloriously captures the spirit of the season. Without fireworks, improvisations, catchy rhythms, or unusual variations, Cole gives us songs full of love in his relaxed and unpretentious style. Accompanied by two orchestras and choruses, which are directed by Ralph Carmichael, Cole still manages to keep his style simple and the songs “clean,” sometimes slowing the lyrics in order to make them more expressive of the meaning.
“The Christmas Song” written by Mel Torme has always been Cole’s biggest Christmas hit, beautifully sung to an accompaniment of piano and strings. “O Holy Night“, with a 27-string orchestra, maintains its sense of quiet awe, instead of becoming loudly triumphant (as it is in many other recordings), while “Adeste Fidelis“, sung partly in Latin, speaks to the listener on a personal level and invites him/her to “come, let us adore him,” instead of demanding it. The jaunty “I Saw Three Ships” and “The First Noel” are sung with an a capella chorus, and two less-recorded songs, “A Cradle in Bethlehem” from England, and “Caroling, Caroling” written in the US by A. E. Burt add new songs to the Christmas repertoire.
The orchestra and choruses here, while large, are used to highlight Nat King Cole’s vocal interpretations, instead of making their own statements, and the use of bells, bell lyre, flutes, and harp often add depth to the background while adding emphasis to the lyrics. Traditional and restrained, Cole’s album honors the season and its message, an album one could listen to all day without tiring. Mary Whipple.