photo credit and © Clay Walker

Holding up the Smooth Blues wing…

…of the amazing Cole family musical dynasty (Freddy, Nat and Natalie), Freddy Cole celebrates his 81st birthday today.

With album names like The Cole Nobody Knows, and I’m Not My Brother, I’m Me, I figure it was tough for Freddy to establish a singing/music career in his own right and move out of the enormous shadow cast by his superstar older brother, Nat.

But Freddy persevered and has indeed established a long successful blues/R&B musician and vocal career (over 25 album releases) that continues to build momentum given his very fine Talk to Me LP release just last year.

One of my favorite Freddy Cole numbers (“Blame It On My Youth”) comes off his 2006 Tony Bennett tribute album — Because of You.

TB always acknowledged the significant influence Nat King Cole played in the development of Tony’s career and style. I find cool synchronicity in this album and particularly in this song where, Freddy — in his own distinct style — deftly pays tribute to Tony B … and by association to brother Nat.

Give it a listen and celebrate Freddy’s big day!

“Blame It On My Youth” – Freddy Cole (Because of You – 2006)*

Happy Birthday Freddy … keep the blues coming!

[* Please remember that all songs streamed here are for REVIEW PURPOSES ONLY and are NOT intended as a substitute for properly purchased original record company product. Give a listen and then please support the artists via iTunes, Amazon or your favorite music store. Artists/Record Labels — NO DOWNLOADS ARE SUPPORTED on this site; please contact me directly regarding the removal of any potentially infringing material.] 


Dean Martin was born…

…95 years ago today, and the world’s been a cooler place ever since!

As I’ve mentioned previously, Dean was my mom’s favorite — quite literally — until her dying day. Mom’s fascination with Dino meant my brother and I grew up on a steady diet of Dean Martin TV, movies and records.

I realized the full effect of this childhood Dino immersion while I was working on the Johnny Mercer DVD review earlier this week.

“Dream” was one of the Mercer numbers that was featured … They played snippets from Nat King Cole’s wonderful version — which I love —  but all I could think about was how Dean really sang the definitive version of the song!

It’s nearly impossible for me to name my favorite DM tunes … like my mom, whatever “Dean song” is playing is my favorite.

But my dad had a favorite Dean Martin number … [Read more…]


We went Irish traditional on St. Patrick’s Day…

Well, at least for the most part … I made some tweaks to accommodate my spice sensibilities — which run a little hotter than traditional Irish fare.

BTW, sorry for the “gap in service” of late here on the Dining side of the site … the last two weeks/weekends found my wife struggling with an allergy induced cough that kept things culinarily mundane for the most part and not worthy of note.

Actually, I was casting about for something Lenten last Friday and ended up making a pasta pomodoro that was awesome … I took bunches of pics but when I sat down to write up the pomodoro post Saturday, I noticed that my most recent contribution to DwtRP was a sun-dried tomato pesto pasta extravaganza … though the dishes are completely different, photographically they are virtually identical … sigh.

No pomodoro? No problemo!

We’re off to the more thematically appropriate  and photographically diverse St. Pat’s day fare! [Read more…]


Life is just strange sometimes…

I spent most of Thursday digging into Freddy Cole’s interesting background and his circuitous path to success.

I’ve been enchanted of late with the younger siblings of major vocal stars — guys like Freddy Cole (Nat), Bob Crosby (Bing) — and have articles on these guys coming up in the queue soon.

Anyway … after steeping myself in Freddy Cole (and by association the other Cole family singers), what should land in my inbox the next day?

Don’t tell my mom…

… but I’ve apparently fallen in with music promoters 😉 . My good friend Jim Raposa was nice enough to copy me on a Nat King Cole birthday tribute letter he received from legendary Jazz music promoter, Dick LaPalm. [Read more…]


Natalie … she’s kinda sneaky

An ad in the paper Friday morning caught my eye. It featured a big photo of Natalie Cole and highlighted her upcoming event with the Austin Symphony Orchestra. I thought, ‘cool, I need to get this on my calendar’ and then noticed the date for the show was 2/10!

You’d think someone that calls’s himself the Vocal Standards Guy would KNOW when freaking Natalie Cole was performing in his home town. I mean, I regularly scour web sites and trade rags looking for standards vocal artists that might be taking the stage within reasonable FLYING DISTANCE for god’s sake!

Needless to say I quickly snagged a ticket at the Long Center website and ended up experiencing maybe the best live performance I’ve ever seen. [Read more…]