Arrangers: Gordon Jenkins; Les Baxter; Nelson Riddle; Ralph Carmichael.
Released just in time for Valentine's Day 2003, the Capitol compilation Love Songs is a generous collection of romantic ballads sung by Nat King Cole. The compilers have leaned heavily on the Gordon Jenkins-arranged and -conducted albums Love Is the Thing (1957) ("When I Fall in Love," "Stay as Sweet as You Are," "It's All in the Game," "Stardust") and The Very Thought of You (1958) ("The Very Thought of You," "The More I See You," "For All We Know"), though there are tracks dating back to the early '50s and up to Cole's final sessions in 1964. Jenkins' lush string charts dominate, however, and they add force to Cole's rich, becalmed interpretations. His trick is to understate the sophisticated love lyrics, leaving the drama to the arrangements. This material has been presented in countless configurations by Capitol over the decades, and in a sense this is just another one. But the collection holds together well, and with a running time of 74 minutes it allows enough time for plenty of smooching on love's favorite holiday. ~ William Ruhlmann
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