Natalie Cole

En Español

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In 1958, Nat King Cole released Cole Español, the singer's first of three Spanish-language albums. He went to Mexico, and took his daughter along, to promote the release. Over half a century later, she takes a cue from her father with En Español. The album contains Natalie's own versions of songs her father recorded, including "Quizás, Quizás, Quizás" and "Solamente una Vez." Additionally, "Acércate Más" incorporates Nat's 1958 take à la "Unforgettable" and "Walkin' My Baby Back Home." Despite the likenesses, this isn't a mere throwback to a brief phase in Nat's career. Produced by Rudy Pérez -- who also translates the Beatles' "And I Love Her" for a sleepy "Yo Lo Amo" -- much of the material was originally written and recorded well after the early '60s. There are several guests, including Andrea Bocelli on "Bésame Mucho," Juan Luis Guerra on an update of his "Bachata Rosa," and pianist Arthur Hanlon on a brisk five-song medley that leads with Tito Puente's "Oye Como Va." Natalie's connection to the source probably isn't much deeper than that of her father; interviews noted her enthusiasm for Mexican food and that she took Spanish classes in high school. The album, nonetheless, is a likable diversion from her norm. What she lacks in fluency is made up with zest.

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