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Ramblin' Rose/Dear Lonely Hearts
     

Ramblin' Rose/Dear Lonely Hearts

by Nat King Cole
 
Mail-order firm Collectors' Choice Music has made a reasonable choice in licensing the two albums Nat King Cole released in the second half of 1962 for a two-fer CD. Both Ramblin' Rose and Dear Lonely Hearts were arranged and conducted by Belford Hendricks in a pop-country style intended to take advantage of the approach taken by

Overview

Mail-order firm Collectors' Choice Music has made a reasonable choice in licensing the two albums Nat King Cole released in the second half of 1962 for a two-fer CD. Both Ramblin' Rose and Dear Lonely Hearts were arranged and conducted by Belford Hendricks in a pop-country style intended to take advantage of the approach taken by Ray Charles with Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music months earlier. Cole had quickly achieved success with the approach, scoring his biggest hit in nine years with "Ramblin' Rose," which peaked at number two in the Billboard Hot 100. The track not only boasted a country flavor, but also recalled the currently popular singalong sound of Mitch Miller with its robust choir and Cole's exhortation, "One more time, everybody, now!" before the final chorus. On the accompanying album (tracks one-twelve here), Hendricks put a rhythm section of piano, electric guitar, electric bass, and drums hard right in the stereo picture, with the choir and strings hard left and Cole, of course, down the middle. The selections included covers of such recent country hits as Claude King's "Wolverton Mountain" and Jim Reeves' "He'll Have to Go," as well as older ones like Hank Williams' "Your Cheatin' Heart" and Jimmy Wakely's "One Has My Name, The Other Has My Heart" along with titles out of the folk songbook like "Goodnight, Irene, Goodnight" and "Skip to My Lou." Hendricks and Cole also snuck in a track that sounded like it might have been intended for the singles chart, "The Good Times," a Drifters-like soft rock & roll number that recalled the Brill Building style and had appeared on the B-side of "Ramblin' Rose." They did the same thing in the Dear Lonely Hearts album (tracks 13-24) with "My First and Only Lover" and "Who's Next in Line?," even though the disc also boasted singles hits in the Top 20 title song and "All over the World." On this follow-up LP, released four months after Ramblin' Rose, Hendricks stuck with the same instrumentation, but changed the mix; now, the guitar and drums were hard right, the piano and bass hard left, and the strings and choir were spread across the stereo spectrum, the male singers on the left, the females on the right, the violins on the left, the violas and cellos on the right. The country approach receded somewhat, with Cole addressing more familiar fare, such as a cover of Francis Craig's 1947 hit "Near You" and the 1921 Irving Berlin standard "All by Myself." (The CD concludes with a Jerry Reed song, "Misery Loves Company," recorded at the sessions for Dear Lonely Hearts, but left off the original LP.) In his liner notes, reissue producer James Ritz makes much, perhaps too much, of the critical reaction of long-disaffected fans of Cole's jazz roots to the blatantly commercial approach of the music on these albums and even feels obliged to throw in his own negative opinion, calling some of the tracks "excruciatingly boring," a view not shared by the fans who bought more than one million copies of Ramblin' Rose and kept it in the charts for 162 weeks. It might have been better to ignore the detractors and celebrate this music for the early-'60s entertainment that it was and that it remained, even 45 years later.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/06/2007
Label:
Collector's Choice
UPC:
0617742082029
catalogNumber:
8202

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