Nat Cole - Vocals
Gordon Jenkins - Arranger
Lee Gillette - Producer
Nat King Cole had recorded spiritual songs and quasi-spirituals before, but had done so in productions which were essentially standard classic pop of the day. Despite already having recorded enough material with Nat to last for a few years, in 1958 Capitol decided to let him record a spiritual album in a much more authentic style.
A choir and church within Nat's home stomping grounds was selected, specifically The First Church of Deleverance in Chicago, and it was decided to use only the appropriate drum and organ instrumentation, arranged in straightforwards manner by Gordon Jenkins. Gordon's name may evoke the most lavish sonic scapes of soaring strings and such, but he was also highly skilled in working with vocal ensembles, and so was asked to look after the choir parts. Nat took lead vocals of course, singing in his sensitive manner for a, well, spirited album.
The resulting straight-forward and brief album didn't ignite much excitement. Nat was criticized for keeping cool throughout, and it's been pointed out that the liners spoke more of the stereo recording than the music. Never the less, I find it a kindly album to share spiritual joy as I feel was intended, and I feel it was a success at what it was intended to be. The title track, Standin' In The Need Of Prayer and I Couldn't Hear Nobody Pray stand out to my ears as best of the bunch.