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Top Pops by Nat King Cole
Released: Jan 1952
Label: Capitol Records
This compiles hit singles and B-sides from the early '50s, when Nat Cole was finding even greater success as a balladeer than as leader of a superlative jazz trio. Cole and his arrangers (Nelson Riddle, Billy May, Pete Rugolo) rarely do wrong, even on the few lackluster cuts. But the classics outshine everything -- "Funny (Not Much)," "Somewhere Along the Way" and "Walkin' My Baby Back Home." Then there's "Teach Me Tonight"; singers may put a ribald spin on the song (the lyrics aren't about learning equations), but Cole sounds positively virginal compared to his bawdy romp through "Papa Loves Mambo."
Nick Dedina