Every Time I Feel the Spirit

Nat King Cole

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Every Time I Feel the Spirit Review

by William Ruhlmann

On paper, a gospel album by preacher's son Nat King Cole recorded in his hometown of Chicago with a local church choir would seem like a sure thing. Why then is Every Time I Feel the Spirit such a disappointment? The blame cannot be put on the First Church of Deliverance Choir, which gives strong readings of some excellent spirituals, including "Ain't Gonna Study War No More," "Oh, Mary, Don't You Weep," and "I Couldn't Hear Nobody Pray." It must be ascribed to Cole himself, who sounds like he is overdubbing his part (though this apparently was not the case), especially because there seems to be no connection between him and the choir. Cole simply sings in his usual easygoing, well-articulated style, never seeming particularly involved with the songs' messages. He swings, but he never works up a sweat and gets soulful. For this reason, the best numbers are the slow ones like "Go Down, Moses" and "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen," on which he can at least seem reverent. Still, despite its title, this is an album on which Nat King Cole never seems to have felt the spirit.

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