PopEntertainment.com

It's all the entertainment you need!

 

FEATURE STORIES MOVIE REVIEWS MUSIC REVIEWS BOX SET REVIEWS TV SHOWS ON DVD CONTESTS CONCERT PHOTOS

 

  FEATURE STORIES
  INTERVIEWS A TO E
  INTERVIEWS F TO J
  INTERVIEWS K TO O
  INTERVIEWS P TO T
  INTERVIEWS U TO Z
  INTERVIEWS ACTORS
  INTERVIEWS ACTRESSES
  INTERVIEWS BOOKS
  INTERVIEWS DIRECTORS AND SCREENWRITERS
  INTERVIEWS MUSIC
  INTERVIEWS OSCAR NOMINEES
  INTERVIEWS THEATER
  IN MEMORIAM
  REVIEWS
  MOVIE REVIEWS
  MUSIC REVIEWS
  CONCERT REVIEWS
  BOX SET REPORT CARD
  TV SHOWS ON DVD
  MISCELLANEOUS STUFF & NONSENSE
  CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHY
  LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
  CONTESTS
  LINKS
  MASTHEAD
  EMAIL US

"WILD YEARS-THE MUSIC & MYTH OF TOM WAITS" BY JAY S. JACOBS

AVAILABLE IN BOOK STORES EVERYWHERE!

 

www.wbshop.com

PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Record Reviews > Natalie Cole

MUSIC REVIEWS

125X125

Natalie Cole Still Unforgettable (Atco) 

In 1991, Natalie Cole's career was in a weird spot.  After over a decade as a pop/soul star, she was only a few years beyond a big career resurrection with hits like "Miss You Like Crazy" and "Pink Cadillac," but she seemed to be fading into the background.  She made a gutsy and career-changing move, deciding to pay tribute to her father Nat "King" Cole - the legendary vocalist who had arguably the best voice in popular music history. 

Unforgettable had Natalie recording a whole bunch of her dad's classics.  The title track even became a duet with her late father due to digital magic - and was Natalie's last top forty hit single.  The album became such a pop culture phenomenon that at that moment her career was completely redefined.  She was no longer a lightweight pop/soul star, she was an interpreter of the Great American Songbook.

Seventeen years later, Cole is going back to the well.  Still Unforgettable is a collection of standards - though not all Nat "King" Cole songs this time around.  It also has a studio duet with dad - this time around an easy-going and sweet "Walking My Baby Back Home." 

This is not the first time she has gone back in this direction, though.  She has somewhat regularly done other standards disks since Unforgettable - in 1993 there was Take a Look, in 1996 there was Stardust (in which she did another Nat "King" Cole duet with "When I Fall In Love"), in 2004 Ask A Woman Who Knows and she did "The Christmas Song" - another Nat "King" Cole cover - for the soundtrack to the movie Scrooged.  It is particularly surprising that Cole has returned to this style following up her return to pop on two of her last three CDs, the jazzy but decidedly more modern and surprisingly strong Snowfall on the Sahara (1999) and Leavin' (2006). 

Still if the new album has a tiny bit of a been-there/done-that vibe, these are beautiful songs done with exquisite grace.

The father/daughter duet of "Walking My Baby Back Home" points out both the positives and the negatives of mixing her voice with that of her father - as did "Unforgettable" and "When I Fall In Love" before it.  Natalie Cole is a wonderful and talented vocalist, but she seems to be working a little too hard.  Her father's vocals flow much more naturally and feel more comfortable with the tune - he knows perfectly how to caress the melody and doesn't have to showboat - like his daughter sometimes falls back into.

Ironically, although these duets have become the "event" of the albums they are on, she really sounds better on the songs without the distraction and comparison of her father.  After all, it is no great crime to be out-sung by Nat "King" Cole - most people who would put their voices up with his would be in the same boat.  However, people who want to hear Nat singing these songs could easily get his originals.  Natalie is better off when the attention is on her rather than the gimmick.

She sings the hell out of such classics as "You Go To My Head," "It's Alright With Me," "Come Rain Or Come Shine" and a stunning take on "Why Don't You Do Right" - again reminding us of Cole's prowess as an interpreter.

Still Unforgettable is a very solid - if not exactly original or adventurous - recording.  With Cole coping with some significant health woes - she is in the hospital as this review is being written, dealing with exhaustion due to Hepatitis C - we should cherish any chance we get to enjoy this supremely talented vocalist.

Jay S.  Jacobs

Copyright 2008 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: September 25, 2008.

RETURN TO RECORD REVIEWS MENU

Copyright 2008 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: September 25, 2008.