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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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NAT KING COLE

AFRS King Cole Trio Time "Live"
VOL. 2

Sounds of Yester Year DSOY 882

 

 

AFRS Show 24 October 4, 1947 
1. Introduction: Straighten Up and Fly Right
2. Give Me Twenty Nickels for a Dollar
3. I Can't Believe It Was All Make-Believe
4. I Miss You So
5. I Found a New Baby
6. Count Me Out
7. For Once in Your Life
8. The Trouble with Me Is You
9. Closer: Crazy Rhythm
 
AFRS Show 38 January 31, 1948
10. Introduction: Straighten Up and Fly Right
11. Almost Like Being in Love
12. I Feel So Smoochie
13. But Beautiful
14. Gonna Get a Girl
15. Rhumba Azul
16. Beg Your Pardon
17. Wildroot Bebop (The Geek)
18. Closer: Rhumba Azul (reprise)
 
AFRS Show 39 February 21, 1948
19. Introduction: Straighten Up and Fly Right
20. I Feel So Smoochie
21. But Beautiful
22. Pianissimo
23. Your Red Wagon
24. This Is My Night to Dream
25. A-N-G-E-L Spells Mary
26. Too Marvellous for Words
27. Closer: Wildroot Bebop (The Geek) - (repeat from show 38)
 
AFRS Show 40 1948 - Guest: Mel Torme
28. Introduction: Straighten Up and Fly Right
29. This Is My Night to Dream (repeat from show 39)
30. I'm in the Mood for Love
31. Near You
32. Rhumba Azul (repeat from show #38)
33. You're Driving Me Crazy
34. I'm Thru with Love
35. Closer: Crazy Rhythm
 
AFRS Show 41 March 6, 1948 - Guest: Clark Dennis
36. Introduction: Straighten Up and Fly Right
37. Sunday
38. Laroo, Laroo Lily Bolero
39. I May Be Wrong (But I Think You're Wonderful)
40. What'll I Do
41. I've Got a Feeling I'm Falling
42. Peg o' My Heart
43. You're the Cream in My Coffee
44. Closer: Body and Soul (repeat from other show)
 
Nat King Cole - Piano, vocals
Oscar Moore - Guitar, vocals (programme 24)
Irving Ashby - Guitar, vocals (programmes 38-41)
Johnny Miller - Bass, vocals
Mel Torm‚ - Vocals (track 33)
Clark Dennis - Vocals (track 42)
Unknown - Tenor sax (track 44)
 

Like the first volume, this second one consists of five fifteen-minute NBC King Cole Time radio shows that were repeated on the American Forces Radio Service network, but only the last two here have guests, per se.  (On show 24 the "guest" is the entire listening audience, according to the announcer, and I assume that shows 38 and 39 have the same "guest" since none is mentioned.) Also there are several tunes that are repeated from one broadcast to another on this set.  (Although it is not mentioned specifically, my ears tell me that the closer, Crazy Rhythm, of show 24 is the same as that from shows 15 and 21 on Volume 1.)  As before, applause is dubbed in, and the ratio of vocals to straight instrumentals is about the same, there being only one or two of the latter per show.

There is not a great deal that stands out here, most of it being typical King Cole Trio fare.  I would guess about half of the numbers will be familiar to most people, the other half probably trotted out in hopes of becoming "hits" but not making it.  While most of these are palatable, some are fairly inane or trite, such as I Feel So Smoochie or A-N-G-E-L Spells Mary or Laroo, Laroo Lily Bolero.  Cole bravely tries to bolster them, repeating I Feel So Smoochie on two shows and assuring the audience that Laroo, Laroo Lily Bolero is destined to be a hit-but to no avail.  More satisfying to me-and I think to Cole-for the most part are the "standards", although there are some others that come off well, such as the minor instrumental hit Rhumba Azul and Cole's own composition with the unlikely title of Wildroot Bebop (The Geek), being a nod in the direction of the "new" genre of the time: bebop.  With the standards, Cole occasionally takes a chance, such as the spanking tempo that he gives I Found a New Baby which, after one time through the entire tune, he drops into half time.  But all of them are satisfying renditions.

Both of the formal guests on this disc are singers, one complementing Cole, the other contrasting.  Torm‚, sometimes called "the velvet fog", has a voice that is warm, soft, and of a somewhat "hazy" timbre, a little like Cole's. His treatment of You're Driving Me Crazy is unique, taking the song at an almost dirge-like tempo, but one which actually works very well. Dennis, on the other hand, a singer in Chicago in the 1930s and 1940s who had sung with Ben Pollack and Paul Whiteman, is an Irish tenor with none of these qualities but with a lilt to his voice and another kind of warmth, clearly evident in his hit of 1947, Peg o' My Heart.

This CD is another reminder of what the jazz world lost when Cole abandoned the trio format eventually and moved over to strictly vocalizing, frequently with large instrumental aggregations that often included strings.  That he achieved artistic and financial success in that sphere is not in dispute, of course.  Like the first volume, this, too, should appeal to Nat King Cole fans-especially those with a strong susceptibility to nostalgia-and to old-time-radio buffs. 

Bert Thompson



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