Nat King Cole – St. Louis Blues (1958/2010) DSF DSD64

Nat King Cole – St. Louis Blues (1958/2010)
DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz | Time – 01:06:44 minutes | 2,64 GB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: AcousticSounds | Booklet, Front Cover | © Capitol Records/Analogue Productions XAPP993D64

This has been a totally no-expenses-spared project. Using the original 3-track work tapes from Capitol’s vaults, mastering engineers Kevin Gray and Steve Hoffman along with DSD specialist Gus Skinas bring you an entirely incomparable experience. In addition to the stereo mixes, this SACD includes a 3-track transfer for multichannel playback and the original mono mix taken from separate microphone feeds, mixing consoles and tape machines at the original sessions. In order to master from the three-track masters, AcousTech had to be outfitted for 3-channel playback. That meant Kevin Gray had to find a third identical monitoring channel chain (including mixing board, amplifier and speaker) as well as a 3-track playback headstack and also a 3-track preview head for the vinyl cutting system. It was a massive assignment. We’ve spent a fortune to include these extra bells and whistles and to make this a truly historic reissue.

An influential figure in the early 20th century development of blues and popular music as a music scholar and the composer of numerous popular songs, William Christopher Handy has often been called “the Father of the Blues.” When two of the finest and most popular of mid-20th century musical figures, jazz and popular music icon Nat “King” Cole and style setting arranger extraordinare Nelson Riddle, undertook an album dedicated to the music of W.C. Handy, the results were at once a worthy tribute and transformative. Particularly smooth vocals by Nat King Cole were aptly backed by resourceful orchestrations from Nelson Riddle. From the landmark laments of “St. Louis Blues” and the loving appreciation of “Morning Star” on through to the colloquial rag of “Joe Turner’s Blues,” the varied facets of Handy’s songs were given a lastingly freshened interpretation. Along with the contemporary Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy (also available here at Acoustic Sounds), this album is considered by many to be the best anthology of the music of W.C. Handy.

The filmed version of W.C. Handy’s life, St. Louis Blues, is a fictional abomination full of every bad cliché that Hollywood could come up with. Its one saving grace was the dignified performance given by Nat King Cole in the lead role (even if Handy was never a singing pianist). This LP, in addition to featuring Nelson Riddle’s “Overture” from the film, finds Cole singing ten of Handy’s finest compositions (including “Beale Street Blues,” “Careless Love” and the title song) while backed by an orchestra playing Riddle’s arrangements. –AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow


1 Overture: Love Theme / Hesitating Blues 3:10
2 Harlem Blues 1:54
3 Chantez Les Bas 2:37
4 Friendless Blues 3:17
5 Stay 2:39
6 Joe Turner’s Blues 2:42
7 Beale Street Blues 2:57
8 Careless Love 2:53
9 Morning Star 2:15
10 Memphis Blues 3:06
11 Yellow Dog Blues 3:16
12 St. Louis Blues 2:36

13 Overture: Love Theme / Hesitating Blues 3:10
14 Harlem Blues 1:54
15 Chantez Les Bas 2:37
16 Friendless Blues 3:17
17 Stay 2:39
18 Joe Turner’s Blues 2:42
19 Beale Street Blues 2:57
20 Careless Love 2:53
21 Morning Star 2:15
22 Memphis Blues 3:06
23 Yellow Dog Blues 3:16
24 St. Louis Blues 2:36

Nat King Cole, vocals
Nelson Riddle, arranger, conductor

Recorded: January 29–31, 1958


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