By Greg Sandow
Updated June 25, 1993 at 04:00 AM EDT

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”Unforgettable” sounds almost tentative next to Natalie Cole’s latest, which — thanks to a canny selection of mostly unfamiliar old pop, jazz, and show tunes, along with a glint of amused delight in nearly every track — moves her definitively out of her father’s shadow. Originality isn’t a strong point of her vocal style. She first heard the album’s title song (and first single) on an Aretha Franklin record; she sings it like Aretha and elsewhere sounds like a blend of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and a double helping of Sarah Vaughan. But only a curmudgeon would blame Cole for emulating those older stars or falling short of the extraordinary verve and depth they brought to their work. She makes the tunes dance — and with the fun she’s clearly having, she’s hard to resist.

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