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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Vintage Acker Bilk Volume 2


[45:54 +68:04]



CD 1
Travelling Blues (version 1 #1)
St Louis Blues
White Hart Blues
Ole Miss Rag
Savoy Blues
Dippermouth Blues
Don't Go 'Way Nobody; (version 1 #1)
Storyville Blues
Come On And Stomp, Stomp, Stomp
Dippermouth Blues (#2)
Travelling Blues (version 1 #2)
Don't Go 'Way Nobody (version 2 #1)
Indiana (version 2)

CD 2
Travelling Blues (version 2)
Willie The Weeper
Delia Gone
Franklin Street Blues
Gladiolus Rag
Easter Parade
Marching Through Georgia
Blaze Away
C.R.E. March
El Abanico
Under The Double Eagle
Jump In The Line (version 1)
Higher Ground
Carry Me Back
Jelly Bean Blues
Careless Love
Marie Elena
Bye & Bye
Don't Go 'Way Nobody (version 2)
Jump In The Line (version 2)

Acker Bilk (clarinet) with Johnny Bastable's Chosen Seven; and the Paramount Jazz Band
Recorded 1958-59


We start here, chronologically speaking, in February 1958 with a pick-up band recorded under banjoist Johnny Bastable's name. Because Ken Colyer recorded for Decca he couldn't be used on the date, so the resultant group was a Colyer-Bilk mix - the Chosen Seven.

The set features the throbbing, steam hammer rhythm section that propelled, if that's not too generous a word, the band. Its forte was not subtlety but its galvanic End of the World emphases at least provided a platform for the contrapuntally weaving front line to establish its credentials. Certainly the pervasive studio echo was not helpful but in point of fact it did little to impede Bilk, Ken Sims or Mac Duncan. There's a bit of studio 'production' to Ray Foxley's piano intro to White Hart Blues but the frontliners turn in good solos. Savoy Blues is taken at the good relaxed tempo that always works best with a particularly good, heavily on-the-beat solo from Bilk. On Storyville Blues the clarinettist inclined more to George Lewis than to, say, Albert Bubank, and there's a guttural Duncan 'bone solo into the bargain. There sounds like a false entry from Acker just before Foxley's solo on Storyville Blues but it's a rompingly good performance. Note that there are two extra issued takes of Travelling Blues, Don't Go 'Way Nobody and Dippermouth Blues.

The second disc gives us the Paramount Jazz Band. We have a familiar friend in Delia Gone but there's an especially fine retrieval from late 1920s New Orleans in the shape of Louis Dumaine's Franklin Street Blues. The rag playing in Gladiolus Rag is respectful, bright, and very Colyer-like. Marching Through Georgia is another number from this time that's been anthologised over the years. C.R.E. March is named in honour of Bilk's old regiment (the Corps of the Royal Engineers) whist we get some Caribbean groves in Jump In The Line of which there are two versions here. Six tracks were not issued at the time, and they end the second disc.

Admirers of Bilk and his various bands can be assured that the good work of volume one continues here. A word about the artwork; Mary Blood has done her usual straightforward but evocative best and this adds to the pleasure of another finely transferred and annotated release.

Jonathan Woolf

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