Nat King Cole: Straighten Up and Fly Right


Straighten Up And Fly Right


Nat 'King' Cole (vocals, piano)


The Very Best of Nat King Cole (Capitol 59324)

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Nat 'King' Cole (vocals, piano), Oscar Moore (guitar), Johnny Miller (bass).

Composed by Nat King Cole


Recorded: Los Angeles, November 30, 1943


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

"That's the filthiest song I ever heard in my life," declared comedienne Lucille Ball, rejecting this track for one of her movies. While Nat King Cole's lyrics are indeed suggestive, his song is coolly within the trickster tradition. All cultures recount tales in which an anthropomorphized animal (e.g., Bugs Bunny) outwits a more powerful adversary. In African-American folklore, the trickster is often a monkey, as in Nat's sly narrative. Cole wasn't above double entendre, but the Baptist preacher's son was no pornographer. Lighten up, Lucy! This is good clean fun. (Well, good fun, anyway. Two out of three ain't bad.)

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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