In 1937, Nat King Cole arrived to Los Angeles where he formed the original lineup of the Nat King Cole Trio. The trio consisted of Nat on piano, Oscar Moore on guitar, and Wesley Prince on double bass - the absence of a drummer making the combo unique among the swing/jazz outifts of that time. The trio played in Los Angeles throughout the late 1930s and recorded many radio transcriptions.
In 1939, the Cole Trio was receiving enough attention to embark on its first tour of the East Coast and the Midwest - in New York, Cole, Moore and Prince backed singer Billie Holiday on one of her Manhattan gigs. In 1940, the Cole Trio made its first commercially available recording of Sweet Lorraine, which featured Cole on lead vocals and became the group's first hit as well as the group's theme on radio.
The outbreak of World War II lead to several line-up changes: Prince, who was drafted into the U.S. military, being temporarily replaced by Red Callender, and later by Johnny Miller who stayed with the group until 1947 (when he was replaced by Irving Ashby). During its 1943-1949 period, the Cole Trio had its share of major hits, which were not only commercially successful, but also extremely influential.
KING COLE TRIO & IDA JAMES - Is You Is On Is You Ain't My Baby (1944)
KING COLE TRIO & IDA JAMES - Who's Been Eating My Porrdge (1944)
KING COLE TRIO - I'm A Shy Guy (1945)
"Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby" is a 1944 Louis Jordan song, released as the B-side of a single with "G.I. Jive". "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby" reached #1 on the US folk/country charts. The Louis Jordan recording also peaked at number two for three weeks on the pop chart and peaked at number three on the R&B charts. It was co-written by Jordan and Billy Austin. Austin (March 6, 1896 – July 24, 1964) was a songwriter and author, born in Denver, Colorado. The phrase "Is you is or is you ain't" is dialect, apparently first recorded in a 1921 story by Octavus Roy Cohen, a Jewish writer from South Carolina who wrote humorous black dialect fiction. Glenn Miller recorded this song on a radio broadcast from Europe during World War II.
The tune has become something of a jazz standard with versions recorded by artists including The Andrews Sisters, June Christy, Bing Crosby, Nat "King" Cole, Buster Brown, Glenn Miller, Renee Olstead, Dinah Washington, Woody Herman, Anita O'Day, Joe Williams, B.B. King with Dr. John, Vic Damone, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Diana Krall, Joe Jackson and Emilie-Claire Barlow. There was also a cover of this on Tom and Jerry, sung by Ira Woods as Tom Cat in Solid Serenade (1946) on the cello.
"I'm A Shy Guy" is another tune written by Nat Cole; and the piano works well along with the bass (Johnny Miller) and the guitar (Oscar Moore) . The lyrics aren't as sophisticated as the lyrics for "Straighten Up And Fly Right;" and this is the probable reason why this tune didn't go as far as "Straighten Up And Fly Right."
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