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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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BENNY GOODMAN

AFRS Shows Vol. 1

Sounds of Yester Year DSOY 818
(distributed by The Woods)

 

 


Show One: 1 July 1946
1. Introduction: Lets Dance
2. Somebody Stole My Gal
3. Comedy
4. On the Sunny Side of the Street
5. Introduction of Martha Tilton
6. And the Angels Sing
7. More Than You Know
8. Comedy
9. I Got Rhythm
10. I Don't Know Enough about You
11. Sing, Sing, Sing
12. Closer: The Sunny Side of the Street (Reprise)
Show Two: 8 July 1946
13. Introduction: Let's Dance
14. I Know That You Know
15. Comedy
16. Ain't Misbehavin'
17. Comedy
18. Introduction of Johnny Mercer
19. My Sugar is So Refined
20. Blues in the News
21. Dizzy Fingers
22. I Don't Know Why
23. Comedy
24. Oh Baby
25. Somebody Stole My Gal
26. Closer: I Know That You Know (reprise)

Benny Goodman - Clarinet, vocals
Bernie Privin, John Best, Nate Kazebier, Dick Mains - Trumpets
Lou McGarity, Cutty Cutshall - Trombones
Addison Collins - French horn
Larry Molinelli, Hymie Schertzer or John Prager - Alto saxes
Gish Gilbertson, Cliff Strickland - Tenor saxes
Ralph La Polla or John Pepper - Baritone sax
Joe Bushkin - Piano
Mike Bryan - Guitar
Jack Lesberg or Barney Spieler - Bass
Louie Bellson - Drums
Johnny White - Vibes
Martha Tilton - Vocals (track 6)
Art Lund - Vocals (track 10)
Johnny Mercer - Vocals (tracks 19, 20)
Eve Young - Vocals (track 22)
Peter Donald - Comedian (tracks 3, 8, 15, 17, 23)

 

This is the first volume in a projected series of perhaps 20 CDs of broadcasts that Benny Goodman and others made for the Armed Forces Radio Service. This album contains the half-hour broadcasts from 1st and 8th July, 1946. As these are transcriptions of radio broadcasts, you also get all the announcements plus some fairly laboured comedy from someone called Peter Donald.

You can skip over these tracks if you want to hear Benny Goodman's groups, which contained such famous musicians as Bernie Privin, Lou McGarity, Cutty Cutshall, Joe Bushkin and Louie Bellson. After Let's Dance (the Goodman signature tune), Somebody Stole My Gal shows that Benny's band was in good form, still justifying Goodman's title of "The King of Swing". On the Sunny Side of the Street is a feature for Benny's quintet (actually for Benny's clarinet), and I Got Rhythm spotlights his sextet - an exhilarating performance.

Other outstanding tracks in the first programme include Martha Tilton singing the song that made her famous: And the Angels Sing, with that magic moment when the tempo doubles into a sort of Klezmer rhythm. Goodman takes the famous solo, fluffing a note along the way. In the rousing Sing, Sing, Sing, the all-important drum role is taken by Louie Bellson.

The second week's programme starts with I Know That You Know, a big-band arrangement of one of my favourite BG Quartet performances. Vocalist Johnny Mercer joins the band for My Sugar is So Refined and Blues in the News, with Johnny White's vibes adding to the appeal of the latter. Dizzy Fingers is an apt description for Benny's clarinet tootling, backed by the "Mobilgas Orchestra" (Mobilgas being sponsors of these shows). Benny himself does an acceptable vocal on Oh Baby, accompanied by his sextet. Somebody Stole My Gal is a repeat from the first show, and this broadcast ends with a reprise of I Know That You Know.

This album supplies a promising taster for future releases of this vintage recorded material.

Tony Augarde



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