Friday, October 7, 2016

SHG: Nat "King" Cole: "Ramblin' Rose"

Nat “King” Cole: “Ramblin’ Rose”
Entered the chart on: 8/18/62
Peaked on: 9/22/62
Weeks at #2: 2
Song at #1: “Sherry” by the Four Seasons

For those of you who have been following Second Hand Goods from the very beginning, you’ll remember that I have a history with Nat “King” Cole. Namely, that he was the first recipient of a five-star award on this feature, and with a song I’d never even heard before: the exquisite ballad “A Blossom Fell.”

Full disclosure time: I’ve never heard this before, either, his last top 5 entry before his tragic death in 1965. To be fair, most of his best-known, most enduring hits (“Unforgettable,” “Mona Lisa” et al) pre-date the rock era. So it’s not inconceivable that I’ve never heard this before: until starting this feature, I’d never heard any song of his newer than 1954. After “A Blossom Fell,” I have high hopes for this one. Don’t let me down, Nat...

You know, I think I might have been mistaken. This sounds awfully familiar. I must have heard this somewhere at some point. I looked at the songwriting credit and thought, “This was written by the Sherman Brothers?” Well, yes and no. It was written by a pair of brothers with the surname Sherman, but not those Sherman Brothers. Got that?

It’s hard not to bop your head along to this. It’s got a bouncy rhythm that carries you along with it, with the guitar leading the way. It sounds awfully old-school for 1962, but then it’s Nat, so would you expect any less? It’s obvious he’d been smoking like a chimney at this point, but I could still listen to that voice of his all day long.

In a way, this is is Nat’s way of keeping up with the Joneses. Or at least the Brook Bentons (he pilfered his musical director, Belford Hendricks) and the Ray Charleses (the orchestration with the massive mixed-voice choir seems to be on loan from “I Can’t Stop Loving You”). This one’s all about that infectious singalong refrain. Nat, being an old pro, knows this, and before the final chorus repeat commands, “One more time, everybody!”

Admit it, you were singing along, too.

Rating: 4

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