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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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HOAGY CARMICHAEL

In Person 1925-1955

Avid AMBX 150

 


For anyone interested in Hoagy Carmichael, this boxed set of ten CDs is a wonderful treasure trove, containing more than 12 hours of music for a recommended price of £29.99, complete with a 40-page illustrated booklet including all the recording and personnel details. The collection takes us from his jazzy 1925 recordings with Hitch’s Happy Harmonists to the easy listening of the 1955 album, "Hoagy Carmichael Plays Ballads for Dancing".

The first two CDs remind us of Hoagy’s connections with such eminent jazzmen as Bix Beiderbecke, Frankie Trumbauer, the Dorsey brothers and Louis Armstrong – Louis duetting with Hoagy on Rockin’ Chair, which later became a staple for the Armstrong All Stars. The first of several versions of Washboard Blues shows where Red Nichols got the arrangement for his more polished version of the tune. Some of these early tracks sound scratchy but they are full of the ebullience of the jazz age.

Naturally, on such a comprehensive collection, some songs are heard more than once, reminding us how often artists have to repeat their greatest hits. Rockin’ Chair appears five times, as do Baltimore Oriole and Hong Kong Blues, but they are beaten by Carmichael’s best-known song, Star Dust which appears 13 times in various manifestations. The first version on disc three is a very intricate piano improvisation on the tune. In some cases these multiple performances occur as a result of Hoagy trying out a song before he does one or more "takes", as in the case of Riverboat Shuffle, which he recorded as a V-disc for American servicemen. These V-discs occupy the first 21 tracks of the fifth CD, mostly with Carmichael’s voice and piano, where we seem to get closest to the man. The collection is rounded off with a disc of other artists performing Hoagy’s songs.

With such a wealth of material, there are inevitably some expendable tracks. Much of the fourth disc is taken up with rather corny big-band arrangements, although they do include an early version of Ole Buttermilk Sky, one of Hoagy’s most attractive compositions. Listening to all ten CDs (admittedly not continuously) leaves me with a deeper appreciation for Hoagy Carmichael and his laid-back style of piano and vocals. I wonder if his approach inspired Mose Allison, who sometimes sounds remarkably similar to Carmichael. The two men also share an appealing brand of tongue-in-cheek humour. But one leaves this compilation most impressed by Hoagy’s talent as a songwriter, often producing songs with unusual structures (perhaps deriving from his jazz experience) and melodies which stick in the mind. He gave us such memorable songs as Skylark, Georgia on my Mind, I Get Along Without You Very Well, The Nearness of You, Lazybones, Little Old Lady, My Resistance is Low, The Old Music Master, Two Sleepy People and – of course – Star Dust. He even wrote Heart and Soul, which you often hear thumped out by children as a piano duet!


Tony Augarde

CD1
1. Boneyard Shuffle
2. Washboard Blues
3. One Night In Havana
4. Friday Night
5. Star Dust
6. When Baby Sleeps
7. Washboard Blues
8. My Ohio Home
9. So Tired
10. March Of The Hoodlums
11. Smile
12. Walkin’ The Dog
13. Shim-Me-Sha-Wabble
14. Rockin’ Chair
15. March Of The Hoodlums
16. Walkin’ The Dog
17. Sittin’ And Whittlin’
18. St. Louis Gal
19. Harvey
20. March Of The Hoodlums
21. Star Dust
22. What Kind Of Man Is You?
23. Walkin’ The Dog
24. March Of The Hoodlums
25. Washboard Blues
26. Walkin’ The Dog
CD2

1. Manhattan Rag
2. Manhattan Rag
3. What Kind Of Man Is You?
4. Rockin’ Chair
5. High And Dry
6. Barbaric
7. Rockin’ Chair
8. Barnacle Bill The Sailor
9. Georgia On My Mind
10. One Night In Havana
11. Bessie Couldn’t Help It
12. Lazy River
13. Papa’s Gone Bye-Bye Blues
14. Just Forget
15. Come Easy, Go Easy Love
16. Medley No.1: In The Still Of The Night, Washboard Blues, Georgia On My Mind, Rockin’ Chair
17. Medley No.2: Rockin’ Chair, Lazy River, Daybreak, Georgia On My Mind, Rockin’ Chair
18. After Twelve O’Clock
19. Sing It Way Down Low
20. Thanksgivin’
21. Snowball
22. Lazybones
23. One Morning In May
CD3

1. Star Dust
2. Cosmics
3. Washboard Blues
4. Judy
5. Moon Country
6. Bessie Couldn’t Help It
7. Medley: Judy, Moon Country
8. Two Sleepy People
9. Hong Kong Blues
10. Riverboat Shuffle
11. New Orleans
12. Washboard Blues
13. Little Old Lady
14. Two Sleepy People
15. That’s Right – I’m Wrong
16. Medley: Washboard Blues, Lazybones
17. Medley: Small Fry, Rockin’ Chair
18. Star Dust
19. Baltimore Oriole
20. Poor Old Joe
21. Star Dust
22. The Old Music Master
23. Old Man Harlem
24. Judy
25. Star Dust
26. Don’t Forget To Say ‘No’ Baby
27. Hong Kong Blues
CD4

1. No More Toujours L’Amour
2. A World Of No Goodbyes
3. Sweet Lorraine
4. Vine Street Parade
5. The Whale Song
6. My Christmas Song For You
7. How Little We Know
8. Somewhere On Via Roma
9. Billy-A-Dick
10. Hong Kong Blues
11. Baltimore Oriole
12. Star Dust
13. Memphis In June
14. Am I Blue?
15. Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief
15. Sleepy Time Gal
16. Ginger And Spice
17. Ole Buttermilk Sky
18. I Can’t Get Started
19. I Don’t Know Why
20. Walk It Off
21. It Ain’t Gonna Be Like That
CD5

1. Baltimore Oriole
2. Hong Kong Blues
3. Star Dust
4. No More Toujours L’Amour
5. Billy-A-Dick
6. Memphis In June
7. Sleepy Time Gal
8. Ginger And Spice
9. Medley : Am I Blue?, How Little We Know, Hong Kong Blues
10. Everybody’s Seen Him But His Daddy
11. Everybody’s Seen Him But His Daddy
12. Rogue River Valley
13. Riverboat Shuffle
14. Riverboat Shuffle
15. Riverboat Shuffle
16. Two Sleepy People
17. Two Sleepy People
18. Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief
19. The Old Spinning Wheel
20. Huggin’ And Chalkin’
21. No More Toujours L’Amour
22. I Can’t Give You Anything But Love
23. Singin’ Down The Road
24. Memphis In June
25. Cranky Old Yank
26. Small Fry
27. Little Old Lady
28. Down T’Uncle Bills
29. There’s Nobody Home On The Range
30. Riverboat Shuffle
31. Lazybones
CD6

1. Star Dust
2. My How The Time Goes By
3. Civilization
4. Hong Kong Blues
5. Dialogue
6. Naughty Angeline
7. The Whiffenpoof Song
8. Great Day
9. Casanova Cricket
10. Intro. & Stardust
11. Riverboat Shuffle
12. Conversation with Mark White
13. Old Man Harlem
14. Baltimore Oriole
15. Conversation with Mark White
16. Memphis In June
17. Riverboat Shuffle
18. The Monkey Song
19. I Get Along Without You Very Well
20. Conversation with Peter Fettes
21. The Sad Cowboy
22. Baltimore Oriole
23. Conversation with Peter Fettes
24. The Old Music Master
25. Conversation with Peter Fettes, Star Dust
26. Bing Crosby & Hoagy Carmichael: Comedy Patter
27. Ole Buttermilk Sky
28. The Love Nest
29. It’s A Good Day
30. Am I Blue?
31. Singin’ Down The Road
32. I Want To Be Happy
33. Ole Buttermilk Sky
34. I Never Knew I Could Love Anybody
35. Rockin’ Chair
36. Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah
CD7

1. Huggin’ And Chalkin’
2. I May Be Wrong (But I Think You’re Wonderful)
3. Talking Is A Woman
4. Ole Buttermilk Sky
5. Sh-h, The Old Man’s Sleepin’
6. Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief
7. Riverboat Shuffle
8. Rockin’ Chair
9. Georgia On My Mind
10. Casanova Cricket
11. A Man Could Be A Wonderful Thing
12. A Tune For Humming
13. Put Yourself In My Place, Baby
14. Who Killed ‘Er?
15. The Sad Cowboy
16. I’m A-Comin’ A-Courtin’ Corabelle
17. Ok’l Baby Dok’l
18. Gonna Get A Girl
19. For Every Man There’s A Woman
20. The Feathery Feeling
21. Memphis In June
22. Ten To One It’s Tennessee
23. Bubble-Loo, Bubble-Loo
24. Fightin’ Love
25. Grandma Teeter-Totter
26. Laughing Boy
27. I’ve Been Hit
28. An Old Piano Plays The Blues
CD8

1. Chocolate Whiskey And Vanilla Gin
2. Three Rivers
3. Crocodile Tears
4. Crime And Punishment
5. That’s A Plenty
6. The Darktown Strutters’ Ball
7. The Old Piano Roll Blues
8. Stay With The Happy People
9. Somebody Stole My Horse And Wagon
10. Coney Island Washboard
11. Some Days There Just Ain’t No Fish
12. Cincinnati Dancing Pig
13. I’m Movin’ On
14. Cindy
15. Ida Red
16. The Golden Rocket
17. The Aba Daba Honeymoon
18. My Resistance Is Low
19. Sacramento
20. I’m Waiting Just For You
21. Woman Is A Five Letter Word
22. Flap Your Elbows, Spin Your Ears And Fly Away
23. Rotation Blues
24. Drip Drop
25. Happy Hoagy’s Medley : I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Ivory Rag, The Darktown Strutters’ Ball
26. The Crazy Otto Rag
27. Lazy River
28. When Love Goes Wrong
29. Love Will Soon Be Here
CD9

1. I Walk With Music
2. Skylark
3. I Get Along Without You Very Well
4. Two Sleepy People
5. The Lamplighter’s Serenade
6. Heart And Soul
7. The Nearness Of You
8. Ivy
9. One Morning In May
10. How Little We Know
11. Blue Orchids
12. Star Dust
13. They All Done Gone With The Wind
14. Poor Old Joe
15. Lazy River
16. Ev’ntide
17. I Get Along Without You Very Well
18. How Little We Know
19. Billy-A-Dick
20. Look Out Below
21. Drip Drop
22. No More Toujours L’Amour
23. Baltimore Oriole
24. Ginger And Spice
25. Memphis In June
26. I Walk Alone
27. Kinda Lonesome
28. Messin’ Around
29. Star Dust
CD10

1. LOUIS ARMSTRONG & HIS ORCHESTRA: My Sweet
2. BOSWELL SISTERS: Charlie Two-Step
3. CASA LOMA ORCHESTRA: Moonburn
4. ETHEL WATERS: Bread And Gravy
5. BENNY GOODMAN & HIS ORCHESTRA: Sing Me A Swing Song
6. LOUIS ARMSTRONG & HIS ORCHESTRA: Ev’ntide
7. LOUIS ARMSTRONG & HIS ORCHESTRA: Lyin’ To Myself
8. TEDDY WILSON & HIS ORCHESTRA: April In My Heart
9. LOUIS ARMSTRONG & HIS ORCHESTRA: Jubilee
10. SARAH VAUGHAN: The Nearness Of You
11. DOROTHY LAMOUR: Kinda Lonesome
12. CONNIE BOSWELL: Heart And Soul
13. BOB CROSBY & HIS ORCHESTRA: Blue Orchids
14. GLENN MILLER & HIS ORCHESTRA: The Rumba Jumps
15. GLENN MILLER & HIS ORCHESTRA: Ooh, What You Said
16. BING CROSBY: Can’t Get Indiana Off My Mind
17. BERYL DAVIS: I Should Have Known You Years Ago
18. GENE KRUPA & HIS ORCHESTRA: Skylark
19. GLENN MILLER & HIS ORCHESTRA: We’re The Couple In The Castle
20. FRANK SINATRA: The Lamplighter’s Serenade
21. JO STAFFORD: Ivy
22. KAY STARR: A Woman Likes To Be Told
23. BING CROSBY: In The Cool, Cool, Cool Of The Evening
24. RAY ANTHONY & HIS ORCHESTRA: I Guess It Was You All The Time
25. JANE RUSSELL: Ain’t There Anyone Here For Love?

 



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