- Beale Street Blues
- Surf Side Samba
- Oh, Baby!
- Blue Again
- Love Is Just Around The Corner
- That’s A-Plenty
- If I Had You
- Sweet Georgia Brown
- Blue and Broken-hearted
- After You’ve Gone
- Royal Garden Blues
Wild Bill Davison (cornet) with Alex Welsh (trumpet), John Barnes
(clarinet, alto and baritone saxophone), Roy Williams (trombone),
Fred Hunt (piano), Jim Douglas (guitar), Gerry Higgins (bass) Lennie
Recorded Manchester Sports Guild, December 1966
Lake will doubtless be mortified by the typo that wrongly spells the
hero’s name. It’s Davison of course not Davidson, but once past that
we can settle down to the music. He was taped at the famed Manchester
Sports Guild in 1966, paired with the native band that most obviously
complemented his hard driving Chicagoan ethos, that of Alex Welsh.
The live session produced the usual and expected verve. The bustling
opener parcels out some good solos; Davison first, then marvellous
Fred Hunt on a wretchedly out of tune piano (and distantly balanced
into the bargain) and then Jim Douglas’s excellent guitar. The band
was one of Welsh’s very finest, with John Barnes’s baritone strongly
propping up Sugar where Bill comes on with his big, fat vibrato
and Roy Williams executes one of his precision tooled stop choruses.
Surf Side Samba is unusual repertoire for the band and not
especially good, although Barnes proves sinuous on alto. Hunt’s intro
to Blue Again is vitiated by the execrable piano but Davison
and Williams shine soloistically on this pretty ballad.
Love Is Just Around The Corner is brisk and breezy and just
a little on the brash side but That’s A-Plenty is a staple,
a Condon staple that is, and encourages a go-round of trading choruses
at the end, some - it has to be said - a touch tentative. But the
verve and energy are palpable. Barnes shines on clarinet on If
I Had You and there’s some horse-play on Blue and Broken-hearted
where Welsh – I think – says sardonically ‘It’s so sad!’ behind
Davison’s deliberately maudlin cornet introduction, doubtless a well-worn
routine. After You’ve Gone is straight out of Eddie Condon’s
rule book and elicits huge cheers, which inspires the galvanic Lennie
‘Ooo-yah’ Hastings to drive frantically into Royal Garden Blues
with its pass-the-parcel front line solos; very brief but exciting.
So ends an invigorating set that is only diminished by an imperfectly
recorded set up and a miserable piano. The Welsh band was always one
of the great movers on the British scene and their illustrious visitor
kept them fine company. Not essential by any means but enjoyable.
See an additional review by Tony Augarde...