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Freddy Cole: Singing the Blues

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Freddy Cole’s latest HighNote release, his eighth in 10 years, is a sort of 50th anniversary gift to himself, and to his listeners. In 1964, Cole made his LP debut with a fine, blues-tinged collection called Waiter, Ask the Man to Play the Blues. It should have set him on the path to stardom, but he sounded a bit too much like big brother Nat.

Nat died just a year later, and Freddy has long since established himself as both a major name and a superlative interpreter of the Great American Songbook. Now, at 83, he revisits the blues, at least in part, bringing to such classics as “Goin’ Down Slow,” “This Time I’m Gone for Good” and “Muddy Water Blues” (also included on Waiter) a gravel-paved sagacity.

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