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Vintage Cy Laurie - Volume 2; 1956-57

Cy Laurie and his Jazz Band; Cy Laurie (clt, sop sax), Alan Elsdon, Ken Sims (tpt), Graham Stewart, Terry Pitts (tbn), Ian Armit, Anne Varley (pno), Diz Disley, Pat Wade, Brian Munday (gtr/bjo), Stan Leader (bass), Pete Mawford, Viv Carter (dms)
rec. 1956-57

LAKE LACD 259 [78:31]




Mad Dog
Goober Dance
Dippermouth Blues
Snake Rag
The Chant
Tuxedo Junction
King Of The Zulus
The Girls Go Crazy
Ole Miss Rag
Memphis Shake
Lonesome Blues
Bow Tie Breakdown
Dippermouth Blues
You Made Me Love You
Froggie Moore Rag
Cootie Stomp
Blue Blood Blues
Sock That Thing
Bull Fiddle Blues
Sunset Cafe Stomp.

This is the second volume in Lake’s Vintage Cy Laurie series. The earlier one was LACD 242 (reviewed here) which covered some unusual pseudonymous sides recorded for the American market – brisk, two minute versions of standards. This release differs. Nine of the tracks were made for Melodisc and most of the others derive from a concert performance from the summer of 1957. All these sides are making their first CD appearance.

By March 1956 the Laurie band included Alan Elsdon and Graham Stewart as front line partners – both highly impressive exponents. Elsdon takes a nice, muted solo on Goober Dance, Stewart reprises Ory’s tailgate and the Doddsian Bootblacks ensemble ethos is properly maintained throughout. On a couple of the King Oliver tracks a second trumpet, Pete Arnold, is added to add verisimilitude but I preferred the attractively voiced The Chant with a good Ian Armit solo and George Mitchell-inclined trumpeting from Elsdon in this Mortonesque outing. Tuxedo Junction is engagingly laid back tempo-wise, Elsdon growling when necessary and Stewart unleashing one of his lazy ‘bone statements like a cat unfurling itself by the fire. Diz Disley is guest on Gatemouth – rather frenetic – whilst some of the clarinettist leader’s best playing is reserved for King of the Zulus.

The Melodisc sound is typically a bit sub-par. The band take a pumping Kid Ory approach to Ole Miss Rag and on these sides the band has rather more time to stretch out. The trumpeter is Ken Sims and the trombonist Terry Pitts. Sims has a yen for Natty Dominique with his wavery vibrato and tight mute work. The spirit of Jimmy Blythe and Chicago barrelhouse permeated the band in Bow Tie Breakdown, an original Laurie composition; Weeping, another Laurie piece, is fervent and passionately declaimed by the leader. The last four tracks were recorded in April 1957 and sound well; more Chicagoan South Side here. I especially liked the easy swing of Sock That Thing.

This is a fine selection, far more characteristic of the Laurie band than the compressed niceties of the earlier disc. Johnny Dodds was Laurie’s God and he celebrates him with his usual passionate conviction.

Jonathan Woolf





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