Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's BĂȘte Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Thursday, April 01, 2004


My next door neighbor lent me a wondrous Nat King Cole album the other day, "After Midnight" from 1956, featuring Cole's brilliant piano and gorgeous singing, a sweet rhythm section with a tasty guitar soloist, and guest swing greats taking turns sitting in one song at a time. Cole started as a jazz pianist, highly esteemed by the be-bop founders as a brilliant peer, and almost accidentally became a huge singing star who often didn't even play piano on his records. He made "After Midnight" as a synthesis album featuring both his huge talents on every song.

A gem of a song I'd never heard sweeps my heart up every time. "You're Looking At Me," a lament of shattered romantic confidence.

Who had the girls turning hand springs?
Crazy to love him claimed he
Who could so misunderstand things?
You're looking at me

With Cole's absolutely absorbing understated sad tenderness of delivery. Just beautiful.

Where is that boy who was certain his charms couldn't fail?
Where is that boy who believed every word of this ridiculous tale?

I love the way Cole sings "ridiculous." Just the slightest hint of bitterness. An unusual word to hear in a song. Shimmers with unexpected just-rightness.

Bobby Troup wrote the song. Composer also of one of Cole's biggest hits, the jaunty standard "Route 66," and of a beautiful ballad for the Four Freshmen, "Their Hearts Were Full of Spring," the lyrics of which Brian Wilson re-wrote for the Beach Boys as "A Young Man Is Gone." Three gorgeous songs -- I want to hear more.

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?