NEWS: Herb Jeffries’ Full “Nature Boy” Suite Reissued

The tattered sheet music that Eden Ahbez dropped off to Nat “King” Cole’s valet backstage at the Lincoln Theater in 1947 was, in fact, a four-part suite. We know that Cole recorded just the main song. However, one artist—Ahbez’s long-time friend, jazz singer Herb Jeffries—recorded the whole shebang.

The duo titled it The Singing Prophet (1955), which had Ahbez’s “Legend of Nature Boy” (aka the “Nature Boy Suite”) on the album’s A-side. According to this clipping from Billboard magazine, c. December 1955, Jeffries even performed it live!!!

See below.

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According to the late Jeffries, whom I interviewed in 2004 about the album, The Singing Prophet was never released. Olympic Records, who test-pressed a hundred promo copies, closed shop just prior to the album’s debut, which was slated for early 1956.

Jeffries himself pressed a small independent run of it in 1960, and again in 1978, the latter under the title Echoes of Eternity (United International Records). But now you can get the original version on CD or MP3, as it’s been remastered and reissued.

See link.

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