In the days when recording artists did not write their own material, it was not unusual for them to record more material than actually fit into record companies' release schedules. As this album makes abundantly clear, that was the case with Nat "King" Cole. Between December 20, 1955, and January 21, 1955, Cole held a series of recording sessions with arranger/conductor Nelson Riddle. Cole was near the peak of his commercial appeal, but this was also a transitional period in the record business, with rock & roll coming in and claiming a big chunk of the pop singles charts. Though a Capitol Records press release refers to this material as "an unissued studio album," it's more likely that the recording dates were intended as singles sessions rather than constituting an album project. Two singles were extracted and released from the material, resulting in four chart placings for "Night Lights," "Too Young to Go Steady," "To the Ends of the Earth," and "Never Let Me Go." But at a time when Elvis Presley was transforming the singles charts, the rest of these songs may have been deemed old-fashioned. Several of the tracks ("Too Young to Go Steady" among them) also came from a new stage musical, Strip for Action, which closed out of town, possibly dooming the chances of the other tracks being released. Nevertheless, these recordings contain excellent performances of typically expressive Riddle charts. The wonder is that, in the 36 years since Cole's death, Capitol has only bothered to release four of these tracks beyond the four singles sides released at the time, leaving 12 unreleased Cole masters of this quality. It's true that the performances are more impressive than the actual compositions, but this album still constitutes a welcome discovery among Cole reissues.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann