Volume Ten in the Classics Nat King Cole chronology documents a busy couple of weeks during the second half of August 1947. On August 15, Nat King Cole recorded three songs intended for a juvenile audience. These were "I Wanna Be a Friend of Yours" (which would have worked well years later as a vehicle for Mr. Rogers), the delightfully nonsensical "Ke Mo Ki," and a very smooth, stylish rendition of "Three Blind Mice" that was briefly disrupted by a "mouse" voice with artificially altered pitch. On the session of August 20, Cole shared the vocals with Johnny Mercer, that resourceful songwriter who had established the Capitol record label in 1942 in collaboration with record store owner Glenn Wallichs and Paramount Pictures producer Buddy DeSylva, himself a songwriter who was publishing hit songs out of Tin Pan Alley as early as 1918. By far the funniest of the Mercer/Cole duets is "Harmony," a lighthearted treatise celebrating the complexities of coexistence, carefully punctuated with deliberately chosen wrong notes. "Save the Bones for Henry Jones ('Cause Henry Don't Eat No Meat)" is also humorous but the lyrics are problematic because bones are patently carnivorous fare, as any vegetarian can and will testify. Since the idea that a vegetarian would eat bones is frankly insulting, some will hear this song as a manifestation of arrogant ignorance, while those who practically live on meat will likely chuckle and think nothing of it. The session that took place on August 22 found the King Cole Trio completely surrounded by a studio orchestra with strings. This was deemed appropriate for material like "Brahms' Lullabye" and the famous "Nature Boy." The session that took place on August 27 was one of the most unusual episodes of Nat King Cole's entire career. Once again performing material intended for prepubescent listeners, Nat King Cole sang a medley of nursery rhymes, rattled off a crazy version of "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" and told a story called "The Three Trees." The weirdest thing about these recordings was a series of sound effects and animal noises generated by Pinto Colvig, the internationally famous voice behind Bozo the Clown! As he headed towards a career as a full-time pop singer with only occasional ties to the jazz world, Cole recorded very few instrumentals. "Laguna Mood" and "Lament in Chords" are the only two wordless performances on this compilation. Note also that what's presented here are the last recordings that guitarist Oscar Moore ever made with the King Cole Trio.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf