Nat “King” Cole: Cole Español – Greatest Hits

The greatest hits in question are from the bland Latin-pop albums Cole recorded 1959-1962, with little jazz content or musical interest


What we have here, in fact, is a selection from Cole’s three Hispanic albums, all sung in Spanish or Portuguese. Cole Español, released in 1958, was a big hit, so much so that a second album, A Mis Amigos (To My Friends), followed in 1959, with a final album, More Cole Español, released in 1962. At the time I owned none of them, staunch in my belief that there were only three male singers extant – Sinatra, Yves Montand, and all the rest, so I’m more or less hearing them for the first time and my initial reaction is that the music’s pleasant enough, with nothing much of jazz.

Until now I had thought of Maria Grever as something of a one-trick pony – in 1934 she wrote both words and music for Cuando Vuelva A Tu Lado. With an English lyric by Stanley Adams, it gave Dinah Washington a huge hit in 1959 as What A Difference A Day Made. Here, Cole delivers another beguiling Grevers number, Te Quiero, Dijiste (Magic Is The Moonlight).

As a student of irony I did relish two things: in 1953, the most popular song of the year, by a country mile, was Vaya Con Dios. Spanish title, but written in English by three Americans. It was a fine effort, beguiling Spanish-sounding melody, plaintive, verging on the enchanting, lyrics, and recorded by everyone and his Uncle Max. Here, for reasons that continue to elude me, it has been translated into Spanish. The same fate has befallen an almost equally popular Italian hit, Arrividerci Roma.

No musicians are credited, merely three arranger/conductors. It should have little trouble finding its audience.

Perfidia; Aquellos Ojos Verdes; Quizas, Quizas, Quizas; Solamente Una Vez; Ansiedad; Yo Vendo Unos Ojos Negros; Piel Canela; Noche De Ronda; Capullito De Aleli; Maria Elena; Las Mananitas; Tres Palabras; Acercate Mas; Ay, Cosita Linda; Cahito; Nadie Me Ama; El Bodeguero; La Feria De Las Flores; Te Quiero, Dijiste; Las Chiapenecas; Adios Mariquita Linda; Vaya Con Dios; No Me Platiques; Adelita; Aqui Se Habla En “Amor”; El Choclo; La Golondrina; A Media Luz; Arrividerci Roma; Fantastico; Tu Eras Tan Amable (78.02)
Cole (v); Armandu Romeu Jr, Pete Cavanaugh; Ralph Carmichael (arr, cond). Havana, Cuba, February 1958. Hollywood, June 1958. Rio de Janeiro, 13-16 April 1959. Mexico City, 6-9 March 1962.
New Continent 8701