Nat Cole - Vocals
Gordon Jenkins - Arranger
Lee Gillette - Producer
"It's the audio equivilent of a distillation of romantic ardor in a bottle."
Following their previous collaboration Love Is The Thing, Nat and arranger Gordon Jenkins stepped up from starry-eyed romanticism to add a stronger mix of romantic and sensual bliss to the mix. Gordon supplies lush string arrangements with emphasis on tension and release, while Nat gave some of his most sublime vocals in perhaps his finest vocal showpiece. It's the audio equivilent of a distillation of romantic ardor in a bottle.
If Love Is The Thing established that fact of love being the desire, this is about achieving that state. About being in that position at The Very Thought of You. It's an exhulation in the resultant romantic high and some of the lingering effects this can have on one's emotional view both during and, possibly, after. Making Believe You're Here, a superb ballad of lost love and longing, is just such a statement of after. Even here of course, love is the thing which creates this state as surely as it inspires the bliss of Paradise or the praises of The More I See You. The experience informs the reflections of the fellow later on in life as shown in This Is All I Ask. It can be a Magnificent Obsession conjuring to mind the greatest flights of man, or grounded in the simple memories of meeting your Million Dollar Baby (In A Five and Ten Cent Store). If this all reads like one may imagine the original liners might, well that's only fitting. One can't do this sort of record any better than Nat King Cole and the folks at Capitol did here. This is the specialty, a realisation of what their talents and focus were ideally suited to.
Nat's vocal qualities in this album are beyond mere excellence. Only Nat would sing out "Each night when I sit down to dine" quite so overwhelmingly and suddenly turn the following phrase "you're in the chair across from mine" quite so quietly personal and, as a result of the contrasts, make it all the more affecting. And he makes it seem as if it were only natural, the only way it ought to be sung.
Years later, Nat and Gordon Jenkins would be reunited for one last time. The resulting album was a literally dramatic contrast: Where Did Everyone Go? One might say it completes a three part cycle; the first album looking ahead and into love, this album being within it, and the third telling of the tragedy of a disillusioned and longing afterward.
Recently viewed documentation has revealed that, contrary to conjecture from what was previously known, Pete Abbott was the principal recording engineer for this album. He did a magnificent job.