Top Artists – Nat “King” Cole

Nat King Cole Sings / George Shearing Plays

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More Nat King Cole Sings / George Shearing Plays

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  • You’ll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER on both sides of this wonderful collaboration from 1962 
  • Two masters come together here to create a compilation of timeless arrangements still appreciated by both music lovers and audiophiles to this day
  • It’s tough to find top quality sound for Nat King Cole – here’s your chance to hear just how good he sounded on this All Tube Recording from the early ’60s
  • “Cole is in prime form on such songs as “September Song,” “Pick Yourself Up,” and “Serenata.” Shearing’s accompaniment is tasteful and lightly swinging, and the string arrangements help to accentuate the romantic moods.”

The better pressings of this unique collaboration between Nat King Cole and George Shearing put Cole’s voice right up front with lovely breath and natural texture. On the better copies such as this one, the Nat’s vocals are full-bodied, the piano has real weight, and the soundfield is open and transparent. If you want a great sounding male vocal LP in your collection, this one will do the trick nicely. (more…)

Nat “King” Cole – To Whom It May Concern

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  • Nat “King” Cole’s wonderful 1959 release makes its Hot Stamper debut with KILLER Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound – reasonably quiet vinyl too
  • The presence and immediacy of Nat’s vocals here are ’50s Capitol Recording Magic at its best – you won’t believe how good this early stereo pressing sounds
  • With the biggest, clearest, richest, most present and most natural vocal reproduction, this copy took Nat’s performance to another level, which is exactly what earned this copy its Three Pluses
  • “For this album, Cole had the idea of putting together a set of newly written songs in the classic style, with typically sympathetic arrangements by Nelson Riddle…”

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Letter of the Week – Taking Another Crack at Willie and Nat

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hello team,

I’ve been a little distracted here, I got married over the weekend! So, haven’t done as much listening over the past couple of weeks. However, I did have a chance to listen to Stardust and Love Is The Thing. They were both different than their Classic Records and Analogue Productions counterparts. Willie sounded a little smoother, more organic, and more integrated. The strings on Love Is The Thing were very different, more pronounced and emotional, but Nat’s voice, and the sound overall, sounded a little strident, maybe “too” hot. I’d like to send them both back to you, and if you have a chance to send back the discs I sent to you I’d very much appreciate it. All told, the two big sets of Better Records are really incredible, and only serve to make my want list grow. Here’s to you and the next set!

Douglas

Doug,

I, along with the two other guys in our listening panels, sat down to play the Heavy Vinyl you sent us, and the long and short of it is that we were astonished that records that sound that bad actually were ever produced.

Nat is wrong six ways from Sunday, and Willie is not so much wrong as just not very good. Nat: “F”, one of the worst heavy vinyl disasters of all time, and Willie: “D” sound, more like a bad CD than a record. There are many pressings of this album that are not good, but this version is probably worse than most of them, hence the D grade. The old Classic pressing is probably better, and it would earn about a C grade.

I suspect the CDs of both these pressings are much better sounding than this vinyl. The DCC gold is definitely better by a long shot, and the plain old Willie CD is probably a step up as well.

I will be writing a review with more depth down the road, taken from my notes. How these records can be enjoyed by anyone is beyond me. Some of the worst sound I have ever heard, and I have heard plenty!

Take any and all of the above for what it’s worth.

Best, TP

Whoa!

I am surprised! Very different take from what I’m hearing at home – would it be okay for me to take another week or two to do some more A/B listening of Stardust and Love Is The Thing on my system?

I’d like to reread “what to listen for” and really do a deep comparison of a couple tracks on each.

* Really * appreciate your time and feedback!

Douglas

Douglas,

How did your shootout go? (more…)

Nat King Cole – Just One Of Those Things

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  • This outstanding vintage Stereo Capitol pressing earned solid Double Plus (A++) sonic grades on both sides
  • Here is the sound we love at Better Records – these sides are full-bodied and Tubey Magical, with especially smooth, present vocals
  • “Cole gives an assured, unhurried performance. And that’s the point: that Cole has tamed the rambunctious May does not mean he doesn’t give wonderful interpretations to some wonderful songs: ‘Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,’ ‘Just One of Those Things,’ ‘The Song Is Ended (But the Melody Lingers On).’ And the light-handed swing supports those efforts well.” – All Music

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Nat “King” Cole’s – Love Is The Thing

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Love Is The Thing

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  • A lovely pressing of this audiophile favorite, with Double Plus (A++) sound and fairly quiet vinyl on both sides to rival the best pop vocal recordings we know of
  • Nat himself sounds especially immediate and real, and the strings are much less of a problem here than they are on most pressings
  • If all you know of this album is the weirdly unnatural remix DCC did (on Analogue Productions vinyl too) this pressing will be nothing less than a revelation
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Nat King Cole’s collaborations with Gordon Jenkins rank among the finest from either artist or arranger. 1957’s Love Is the Thing remains the epitome of the pair’s undeniable compatibility, and it topped the album charts for eight weeks.”

Love Is The Thing has always been one of the better Nat “King” Cole recordings we play. The music is sublime, and on the right copy the sound can be superb. Armed with a much larger variety of pressings to play, including some interesting “finds” among them, our recent shootout convinced us that it actually is The Best. We have never heard the man sound better than he does on the best copies of this very recording.

One of the key elements we noticed on the best of the best was the quality of relaxation in Nat’s performance. He sings so effortlessly on the good sounding pressings. On some pressings that casual quality is not nearly as noticeable. (more…)

Sammy Davis Jr. – The Nat King Cole Song Book

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The Nat King Cole Song Book

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  • A superb sounding original stereo copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or very close to it on both sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too!
  • Bigger and richer, with lovely Tubey Magic and breathy vocals, this Tri-Color Reprise pressing lets us hear Sammy at the peak of his powers performing some of Nat’s most memorable songs
  • 4 Stars: “Alongside Cole’s collaborator, Billy May, and notable jazz arranger Claus Ogerman, Davis and company turned in one of the finest and most underrated efforts.”

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Nat King Cole – This Is Nat “King” Cole – Our Shootout Winner from 2017

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

The presence and immediacy here of Nat King Cole’s vocals are ’50s Capitol Recording Magic at its best. Set the volume right and Nat is right between your speakers, putting on the performance of a lifetime. The selection of material and the contributions of all involved (Nelson Riddle among them) are hard to fault.

Here it is – only the second Hot Stamper copy of Nat’s classic 1957 release to ever hit the site, and what a pressing it is! It’s taken us a long time to pull together enough clean copies to make the shootout happen. Boy, was it worth all the trouble.

The sound is big, open, rich and full, with loads of Tubey Magic. The highs are extended and silky sweet.

Midrange Magic to Die For

This early Capitol mono LP also has the MIDRANGE MAGIC that’s no doubt missing from the modern reissues. Nat’s voice is sounds so right — not necessarily natural, but correct for the vocal style of the era — you immediately find yourself lost in the music, because there’s really nothing to distract you.

If you’re like me, this copy sounds the way you want it to sound. (more…)

Nat King Cole – Just One Of Those Things – Our Shootout Winner from 2008

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

ONE OF THE MOST TUBEY MAGICAL MALE VOCAL RECORDS WE’VE EVER HAD THE PLEASURE OF PLAYING! We shot this out against similar copies, earlier pressings, and a 180g reissue, and nothing was quite in a league with this. Turn up the volume, turn down the lights, and let Nat serenade you from right between your speakers — he’ll be IN THE ROOM with you! (more…)

Nat King Cole – Let’s Face The Music – Reviewed in 2013

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Rich and tubey vocals on exceptionally quiet vinyl. Swingin’ Billy May Big Band arrangements. Nat plays the Hammond organ on no less than five tracks.

All the copies we played were stereo. We’ve had very poor luck with mono Nat King Cole records (for albums that were recorded in stereo) and tend to avoid them. (more…)

Nat King Cole – Welcome To The Club

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Capitol Records Original Multi-Color Label LP in excellent condition. The reason this Nat King Cole record is so good is simple — he’s joined here by top jazz players from the big bands of the day. They make these sessions swing.

The material is always much better than the typical Nat King Cole record: not as many sappy love songs.