Although they were made some time before Les Paul developed the first Gibson solid-body guitar, and before the true depth of his brilliance as a musician and innovator were recognized, these Decca recordings, cut between 1936 and 1947, contain the full range of his abilities. Paul's guitar playing is dynamic to be sure, and though there is a bit of everything here--jazz, country, Hawaiian music, and the mainstream pop of the day--Paul sounds equally at ease in all styles.
There are recordings by Paul's trio (piano, guitar, and bass) and some after he added a drummer to the ensemble. There are also plenty of appearances by guest vocalists, including Bing Crosby, the Andrews Sisters, and Helen Forest. Considering the dates on these sessions, the sound quality is quite good, and that, along with his dazzling six-string technique and stylistic reach, makes this an indispensable overview of Les Paul's early work.