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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



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ACKER BILK

Beau Jazz

Lake LACD 231

 

 

 
1. Grandpa's Spells
2. Creole Love Call
3. I've Found A New Baby
4. This Town
5. Bula Bula
6. Sentimental Journey
7. Tell 'em About Me
8. Chattanooga Stomps
9. Sneak Away
10. Wilbur
11. Oh Marie
12. Ole Miss Rag
13. Gotta See Baby Tonight
14. If You Were The Only Girl in the World
15. Song Of The Volga Boatmen
16. Sipping Cider
17. Lonely
18. All I Wanna Do Is Sing
Acker Bilk – Clarinet, vocals (tracks 1-3, 6-8, 10-18)
Colin Smith – Trumpet (tracks 1-3, 5-8, 10-16, 18)
John Mortimer – Trombone (tracks 1-3, 5-8, 10-16, 18)
Stan Greig – Piano
Roy James – Banjo, guitar (tracks 1-8, 10-18)
Ernie Price – Bass (tracks 1-3, 5-8, 10-18)
Ron McKay – Drums (tracks 1-3, 6-18)
Per Hensen – Trumpet (track 12)
Jack Emblow – Accordion (track 17)

During the British trad boom of the late fifties and early sixties, the three most prominent bands were the alliterative trio of Barber, Ball and Bilk. This triumvirate deserved their renown, as they were all fine bands containing excellent musicians. Acker Bilk’s band had a fairly consistent line-up in the four years before 1962, when this album was recorded as one of Denis Preston’s Record Supervision series. Admittedly the band’s stage gear, including bowler hats and waistcoats, made some purists accuse Acker of commercialism but the music was always first-rate, and Bilk led a well-integrated ensemble.

Acker himself was the ideal front man: ebullient, down-to-earth and a respectable vocalist as well as a clarinettist with one of the mellowest, most ethereal sounds on earth. Acker’s instrumental brilliance is displayed on such tracks as I’ve Found a New Baby, where his clarinet soars above the thumping tomtoms of Ron McKay. Colin Smith was also no mean instrumentalist, acting capably as lead trumpeter as well as soloing with style on such numbers as Sentimental Journey.

The repertoire here is an eclectic mixture of Dixieland warhorses, jazz classics, blues numbers and originals. Johnny Mortimer’s composition Bula Bula is particularly beguiling: a jazz waltz with plenty of lift. Two tracks are features for Stan Greig’s piano – This Town simply with Roy James on guitar and Sneak Away with Ron McKay adding some agreeable drum breaks. The original LP tracks are supplemented with a few oddments from singles and film soundtracks, including a rather ponderous Song of the Volga Boatmen and Lonely, a clarinet feature with accordionist Jack Emblow helping out with the accompaniment The latter uses a bit too much echo but otherwise the CD’s recording quality is acceptable.


Tony Augarde

 



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