King grew out of the Reluctant Stereotypes, a highly-regarded but underachieving UK Coventry band, with musicians including former Members' drummer Adrian Lily white (brother of U2 producer Steve). They settled on a distinctive image - multi-coloured Doc Martens, with King himself resplendent in bright suits and cockatoo hair. As well as numerous bonus tracks never released before on CD, this package includes exclusive liner notes written by long-serving Coventry journalist Pete Chambers, who has followed the band's career for many years. There are also many unpublished photographs in the accompanying booklet.
The Best of Nat King Cole is part of EMI-Capitol Special Markets' Ten Best Series, where they selected ten hits from a popular artist on their roster. For the budget-minded, it's a nice collection of Nat King Cole's best-known hits, like "Unforgettable," "Ramblin' Rose," "Mona Lisa," "Walkin' My Baby Back Home" and "(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons." It certainly won't please either jazz purists or Cole collectors, but the budget-conscious looking for an affordable (albeit skimpy) sampler of well-known Cole should turn here.
Easily the longest of any Capitol single-disc compilation, 2005's The World of Nat King Cole also benefits from a fresh remastering of its material to make it the best introduction to the interpretive brilliance of Nat King Cole. Nearly all the hits that need to be here are indeed present: "Straighten Up and Fly Right," "Route 66," "Nature Boy," "Too Young," and "Mona Lisa." The compilers also wisely chose a few representative songs to replace some of the middling hits; the only surprise is the absence of "The Christmas Song" and "Lush Life," although the chart hits – "Answer Me, My Love," "Pretend," "Looking Back"…
Favorite Ballads is an entertaining collection of lush, romantic ballads Nat King Cole recorded for Capitol Records. It's not designed to be a comprehensive compilation for collectors. Instead, it's a nice sampler. Latter-day fans may be dismayed that "Unforgettable" is missing, but such songs as "The Very Thought of You," "Just One of Those Things," "Stardust," "These Foolish Things," "Tenderly," "I Should Care," and "You're My Thrill" make this a very pleasant listen.