01. Honeysuckle Rose
02. Sweet Lorraine
03. This Side Up
04. Gone With The Draft
05. Call The Police
06. That Ain't Right
07. Are You Fer It?
08. Hit That Jive Jack
01. Early Morning Blues
03. Scotchin' With Soda
04. Slow Down
05. I Like To Riff
06. This Will Make You Laugh
07. Hit The Ramp
08. Stop, The Red Light's On
Personnel on all tracks: Nat "King" Cole (piano, vocal); Oscar Moore (guitar); Wesley Prince (bass).
Group vocals on "Babs", "Scotchin' With The Soda", "Stop The Red Light's On", "I Like To Riff", "Call The Police", "Hit That Jive Jack", "Are You Fer It".
Nat "King" Cole solo vocal on "Sweet Lorraine", "Gone With The Draft", "Slow Down", "This Will Make You Laugh", "That Ain't Right".
"Honeysuckle Rose", "Sweet Lorraine", "This Side Up" and "Gone With The Draft" were recorded in Los Angeles on December 6th, 1940. They were released on the following two singles:
Sweet Lorraine / This Side Up (Decca 8520) - March 1941
Honeysuckle Rose / Gone With The Draft (Decca 8535) - April 1941
"Babs", "Scotchin' With The Soda", "Slow Down" and "Early Morning Blues" were recorded in Chicago on March 14th, 1941, and released on the following two singles:
Babs / Early Morning Blues (Decca 8541) - May 1941
Scotchin' With The Soda / Slow Down (Decca 8556) - June 1941
"This Will Make You Laugh", "Stop The Red Light's On", "Hit The Ramp" and "I Like To Riff" were recorded in New York on July 16th, 1941 and released on the following two singles:
Hit The Ramp / This Will Make You Laugh (Decca 8571) - September 1941
Stop The Red Light's On / I Like To Riff (Decca 8592) - December 1941
"Call The Police", "Are You Fer It", "That Ain't Right" and "Hit That Jive Jack" were recorded in New York on October 22nd, 1941 and released on the following two singles:
Call The Police / Are You Fer It? (Decca 8604) - March 1942
That Ain't Right / Hit That Jive Jack (Decca 8630) - June 1942
Discographical info from:
"Unsung Heroes of Rock 'n' Roll" by Nick Tosches
"Nat King Cole: The Man And His Music" by James Haskins with Kathleen Benson
My dad was a big Nat King Cole fan. He had LPs with songs like "Ramblin' Rose" and "Roll Out Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days Of Summer" and he used to love listening to the older hits like "Mona Lisa" and "When I Fall In Love." But deep in a cupboard lay a pile of my dad's old 78s by the likes of Artie Shaw, The Ink Spots and Art Tatum. And in among the slabs of shellac was a a different kind of Nat King Cole record - "It's Only a Paper Moon" by The King Cole Trio. Here was the same velvet smooth voice but without an orchestral backing, just a tight, jazzy combo with piano, guitar and bass. And oh, how cool did they sound?
Over the years I gradually became more aware of the earlier phase of Nat King Cole's career - the 1940's hepcat leader of a jazz trio on the new West Coast label Capitol Records. Cool vocals and immaculate jazz piano by Nat King Cole, smooth guitar by Oscar Moore and solid bass by Johnny Miller. A trio which started off a trend in black music sometimes referred to as "The Cocktail Combos." Perhaps their most well known stylistic offspring (at least to us R&B fans) was the group started by Oscar's brother and fellow guitarist Johnny - Johnny Moore's Three Blazers.
But that it is to anticipate matters by a few years, for The King Cole Trio didn't start recording for Capitol until the end of 1943. The material in this featured LP was recorded by the first iteration of the group, Nat Cole, Oscar Moore and Wesley Prince, for Decca in 1940-1941. Here we find the trio still developing the sound which was to bring them such great success soon afterwards. Quite a few tracks feature unison vocals by the whole group, a style which harks back to the jive groups of the late 1930s such as The Cats And The Fiddle. We also find some tracks such as "Sweet Lorraine" with solo vocals by Nat, an arrangement which would prove to be the way forward for the group.
I ripped this LP way back in the early days of the blog and posted it with incomplete cover scans. I have added new cover and label scans for this post. There is some popping and clicking on some of these tracks. Apologies!