The Nat King Cole Trio "AFTER MIDNIGHT" Capitol, 1956, new 45 vinyl & SACD, audiophile demo quality!

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Jun 19, 2010.

  1. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    My favorite Nat King Cole Capitol album (along with the totally different "LOVE IS THE THING") is AFTER MIDNIGHT. A sort of nostalgic look back at Nat's earlier days with his trio. Much has been written about this famous album, how it was considered not likely to do well but producer Lee Gillette and Nat wanted to do it (Nat's first recording at the new Capitol Tower Studio) and how everyone was surprised (but not Nat or Lee) when it sold out of the first pressing in under a week, etc. Much ink has been spilled over this landmark album, Nat's last in this style. The great guest stars, the extra songs recorded for but left off the album, buried for 25 years until dug out by a British musicologist and released in England to great acclaim and so on. Needless to say, as a jazz album it's a winner and as a Nat Cole album it's right up there at the top with the crowning jewels of his career.

    So, why am I starting this thread? So you won't SKIP OVER the new Analogue Productions 45 RPM Three LP Set and SACD/CD that I worked on of AFTER MIDNIGHT. Why would I think you might skip over this (you are asking?) Well, for two reasons. One, you might already have it on CD or LP and two, it is in MONO and some of you don't like mono.

    Well, trust me here, this is DEMO QUALITY. Mono or not, it has an amazing front to back soundstage, full dynamic range far more than later recordings and is a totally convincing document of the sessions held in August-September, 1956. Wait until you hear John Collins' D'Angelico guitar. A sweet instrument. I believe that most of the songs in our new version are transferred for the first time from the original session tapes (as carefully filed away marked "HOLD/DO NOT DESTROY PER LEE GILLETTE"). It took weeks of research to unearth these original gems. I can tell you that Lee Gillette made sure these reels survived the great vault purge of 1959 but Lee himself left Capitol after Nat's death. The reels were carefully saved but as other old time people left the label, so did the knowledge of the extra songs. EMI managed to find the reels marked by Gillette and found that they had basically been unplayed since back in the day except to make the EQ'd safety dubs used in the LP cutting process and later. So, everything original was found. A difficult task but well worth it when the results are heard.

    The AFTER MIDNIGHT sessions were recorded without a compressor or limiter in the studio circuit (confirmed to me by the late Capitol engineer John Kraus) and so when Kevin Gray and I mastered this both for 45 RPM and for SACD/CD we disconnected all of the mastering gear (console, outboard limiting and EQ boxes, etc.) to honor Lee and Nat and just let the full bandwidth signal flow from the playback tape machine straight to the cutter head and the DSD recorder. You are hearing the pure signal of this landmark album and the just-delivered via Fed Ex. test SACD is playing in the background as I type this and my jaw is continuously dropping to the floor. This is 1956 (over 50 years ago, dudes), but it sounds LIVE in my living room. Gosh, I ain't kidding, this is the real deal.

    So don't forget to order this one along with LOVE IS THE THING, THE VERY THOUGHT OF YOU, ST. LOUIS BLUES, WHERE DID EVERYONE GO, JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS and THE NAT "KING" COLE STORY 45 RPM LP's and three-channel/two channel SACDs.

    When this sucker goes out of print, that's it. You're back to No-Noise Land with the CD version that is out there now. Let's not go there. Get this one, 66 minutes of legendary music. You'll be very happy with your selection.:)

    The Nat King Cole Trio + Invited Guests

    After Midnight as issued by Analogue Productions has a 45 RPM three disk set and a digital version with an SACD section and a CD section, both MONO containing the following songs:

    Original 12 song LP:
    Just You, Just Me
    Sweet Lorraine
    Sometimes I’m Happy
    It’s Only A Paper Moon
    You’re Looking At Me
    The Lonely One
    Don’t Let It Go To Your Head
    I Know That You Know
    Blame It On My Youth
    When I Grow Too Old To Dream
    (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66

    + Bonus tracks, songs recorded for, but left off the original LP:

    I Was A Little Too Lonely (And You Were A Little Too Late)
    You Can Depend On Me
    What Is There To Say
    Two Loves Have I

    Plus prev. unreleased alternate take:
    Just You, Just Me (take one)
    + studio chatter

    The below information courtesty of J. Taylor and Apileocole:

    LP-After Midnight:
    August 15, 1956
    (Session #4500; 12:00-17:00) Capitol Recording Studio, 1750 N. Vine Street, Hollywood, California
    Nat Cole (vocal/piano/arranger) John Collins (guitar) Charlie P. Harris (bass) Lee Young (drums) Harry Edward 'Sweets' Edison (trumpet)
    • (15788-10) You Can Depend On Me HOLD
    • (15789-8) Candy HOLD
    • (15790-4) Sweet Lorraine
    • (15791-5) It's Only A Paper Moon
    • (15792-3) (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66
    Note: this was the first session for Nat at the Capitol Tower Studio
    September 14, 1956
    (Session #4542; 14:00-18:00) Capitol Recording Studio, 1750 N. Vine Street, Hollywood, California
    Nat Cole (vocal/piano/arranger) John Collins (guitar) Charlie P. Harris (bass) Lee Young (drums) William McLeish 'Willie' Smith (alto saxophone)
    • (15895-10) Don't Let It Go To Your Head
    • (15896-11) You're Looking At Me
    • (15897-7) Just You, Just Me
    • (15898-8) I Was A Little Too Lonely (And You Were A Little Too Late
    September 21, 1956
    (Session #4555; 14:00-18:00) Capitol Recording Studio, 1750 N. Vine Street, Hollywood, California
    Nat Cole (vocal/piano/arranger) John Collins (guitar) Charlie P. Harris (bass) Lee Young (drums) Jack Costanzo (bongos) Juan Tizol (valve trombone)
    • (15920-5) Caravan
    • (15921-11) Lonely One
    • (15922-1) Blame It On My Youth
    • (15923-14) What Is There To Say HOLD
    September 24, 1956
    (Session #4560; 14:00-19:00) Capitol Recording Studio, 1750 N. Vine Street, Hollywood, California
    Nat Cole (vocal/piano/arranger) John Collins (guitar) Alvino Rey (steel guitar*) Charlie P. Harris (bass) Lee Young (drums) Stuff Smith (violin)
    • (15936-5) Sometimes I'm Happy
    • (15937-3) I Know That You Know
    • (15938-11) When I Grow Too Old To Dream
    • (15939-14) Two Loves Have I HOLD


    Attached Files:

  2. TSmithPage

    TSmithPage Ex Post Facto Member

    Lexington, KY
    I am SO glad Steve is a Nat King Cole fan. We are getting access to so much cool stuff that we never would have seen otherwise!
    McLover likes this.
  3. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    Be glad that Chad Kassem of Acoustic Sounds/Analogue Productions is a Nat King Cole fan. When I suggested to him that we include the mono AFTER MIDNIGHT in our series of Nat Cole SACD's/45 LP's, he thought about it for less than 10 seconds before agreeing.

    That is so cool.
  4. benjaminhuf

    benjaminhuf Forum Resident

    After Midnight is a wonderful album. And at 17 tracks, I think it's the longest single album Nat King Cole ever made. I'm surprised it's not in the top ten for sales yet, but I'm guessing the reason is that the length means that for this release to keep the premium audio quality at 45 rpm they are releasing it over three whole 180g records, which means it costs a bit more that the other ones that fit on two records.

    Anyway, it's worth it. After Midnight is an essential album when it comes to Nat King Cole. Perish the thought that you could only get one of these new releases, but if so then After Midnight might be the one to get.

    PS: SH--how was the cover art restored? It looks better. Was the original photo/artwork found?
  5. j3brow

    j3brow Forum Resident

    I already have your other 33 1/3 version of After Midnight, and I was gonna skip your new version, you have sold me (again). The SACD will be purchased - hopefully the 2 channel version will also drop my jaw. But I gotta tell ya, I'm spinning my old vinyl copy as I type and I have nothing to complain about.....
  6. John Carsell

    John Carsell Forum Resident

    Northwest Illinois
    I already have the SH mastered Pure Pleasure Records vinyl, so it's SACD for me this time.
  7. -Alan

    -Alan Moderator

    Connecticut, USA
    I'm buying them all but hearing the story behind the title increases the anticipation. Thanks for sharing, Steve. :righton:
  8. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    San Jose, CA
    I don't have the album in any form, but will certainly buy the SACD.

    Nice cover.
  9. kt66brooklyn

    kt66brooklyn Forum Resident

    brooklyn, ny
    I have the EP set from the 50's. They're crappy little EP's, and yet the sound blows me away on them. I'm totally picking up this set.
  10. dale 88

    dale 88 Errand Boy for Rhythm

    west of sun valley
    Oh , you are gonna like this in my opinion. Just thinking about this album brings a smile to my face.
  11. Claus

    Claus Senior Member

    One of my favorite albums.... I already pre-ordered this (SACD) one!
  12. Must have for me.
  13. SACD for me too.
  14. nukevor

    nukevor Active Member

    Must...close...wallet...can't resist!
  15. fmuakkassa

    fmuakkassa Dr. M

    I'm convinced. Will get both LP & SACD.
  16. ShawnMcCann

    ShawnMcCann Six of One

    Pepperell, MA
    Looking forward to this. I'm getting both the 45 RPM set and the SACD.
  17. Rose River Bear

    Rose River Bear Forum Resident

    Thanks for the tip Steve. I have never been a big fan of Nat so you just decided for me which SACD to buy!
  18. Claus

    Claus Senior Member

    The best 3 from AP (IMO)... Love is the Thing, The Very Thought of You, After Midnight.
  19. darkmatter

    darkmatter Gort Astronomer Staff

    A must too :D
  20. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    Those little EP's are pretty nifty. They don't sound good but they are fun to watch going around!
  21. jtaylor

    jtaylor Forum Resident

    That seems to be the general consensus around here. The great thing about this series, though, is that it features some lesser-known gems (St. LOUIS BLUES / WHERE DID EVERYONE GO?) that will hopefully serve to broaden the appreciation of Cole's catalog beyond just the more well known two or 3 classics mentioned above.
    Man at C&A and rxcory like this.
  22. benjaminhuf

    benjaminhuf Forum Resident

    Jordan: And it seems to have worked. The two gems you mention have made it to a pretty good place on the acoustic sounds top ten list for 45 rpm vinyl...:

    "1. Love Is The Thing
    Nat "King" Cole
    2. A Love Supreme
    John Coltrane
    3. The Very Thought of You
    Nat "King" Cole
    4. Seven Steps To Heaven
    Miles Davis
    5. St. Louis Blues
    Nat "King" Cole
    6. Where Did Everyone Go?
    Nat "King" Cole"

    I'm especially interested in one of the bonus tracks for After Midnight:

    "Bonus tracks, songs left off original LP:
    What Is There To Say?
    I Was A Little Too Lonely
    You Can Depend On Me
    Two Loves Have I
    Just You, Just Me, Take 2"

    Maybe I've missed it, but I don't think this take 2 of Just You, Just Me has ever been released before. And it just happens to be probably my favorite song on this whole excellent album, and so it's nice news for me. Can't wait to hear it.
  23. jtaylor

    jtaylor Forum Resident

    This will be it's first issue, yes.

    Another added bonus of Steve handling Nat's catalog is that in returning to the proper tape sources he's able to find unknown alternate takes that otherwise would never see the light of day. Not only is this the case with "Just You, Just Me," but also with the JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS alternates, "You'll Never Know" and "Just for the fun of It."

  24. :laugh:
  25. chacha

    chacha Forum Resident

    mill valley CA USA

    Is this markedly different (other than 45 rpm) than the Pure Pleasure disc you did? I've always loved this album and that one sounds terrific as does my original grey label Capitol.


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