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



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MELODISC RECORDS OF
HOLLYWOOD 1945-1946

Acrobat ADDCD 3066

 

 

CD1
1. Abernathy's Voo-It Voo-It - Marion Abernathy with George's Dukes & Duchess
2. Night Mist - Howard McGhee Orchestra
3. The Hour Of Parting - George's Dukes & Duchess with Lucky Thompson
4. Abernathy's Boogie - Marion Abernathy with George's Dukes & Duchess
5. Slowin' Down The Blues - Marion Abernathy with George's Dukes & Duchess
6. Cherokee - George's Dukes & Duchess with Lucky Thompson
7. Mellow Reeni Riff - King Perry & The Pied Pipers
8. Puttin' You Down Blues - King Perry & The Pied Pipers
9. Voot Rock - King Perry & The Pied Pipers
10. Baby Baby Blues - King Perry & The Pied Pipers
11. Laughing At Life - King Perry & The Pied Pipers
12. Till The Very End Of My Days - King Perry & The Pied Pipers
13. That's All She Wrote, `cause The Pencil Broke - George Crawford & The Four Blazes
14. Let's Boogie - George Crawford & The Four Blazes
15. The Big Leg Mama's Fine - George Crawford & The Four Blazes
16. I Never Had A Dream To My Name - George Crawford & The Four Blazes
17. Boogin' At Berg's - Slim Gaillard Quartet
18. Laguna - Slim Gaillard Quartet
19. Dunkin Bagels - Slim Gaillard Quartette
20. Don't Blame Me - Slim Gaillard Quartette
21. Lonely Blues - Marion Abernathy & George's Dukes & Duchess
22. Ink Splink - Marion Abernathy & The Buddy Banks Orchestra
23. Roses Of Picardy - Marion Abernathy & The Buddy Banks Sextet
 
CD2
1. Goin' For The Okey Doke - Marion Abernathy & The Buddy Banks Sextet
2. Hey Lawdy Mama - Flennoy Trio
3. My Honey Chile - Flennoy Trio
4. Poor Butterfly/Big Fat Butterfly - Don Grissom & The Flennoy Trio
5. Cherry - Don Grissom & The Flennoy Trio
6. Ride, Red, Ride - The Counts & Countess
7. Rip Up The Joint - The Counts & Countess
8. King Perry Blues - King Perry Quintet
9. The Man I Love - King Perry Quintet
10. A Chicken Ain't Nothin' But A Bird - King Perry Quintet
11. Song Of The Islands - King Perry Quintet
12. Silver Symphony - Jack McVea All Stars
13. Scrub Sweep And Mop - Jack McVea All Stars
14. New Deal - Jack McVea All Stars
15. Fightin' Mama Blues - Jack McVea All Stars
16. Grand Slam - Karl George Octet
17. Baby It's Up To You - Karl George Octet
18. Peek-A-Boo - Karl George Octet
19. How Am I To Know - Karl George Octet
20. Don't Blame Me - Joe Thomas & His Orchestra
21. For Boobs Only - Joe Thomas & His Orchestra
22. You're Buggin' Me - Joe Thomas & His Orchestra
23. Sequence - Joe Thomas & His Orchestra

 

In 1945, Daniel F. O'Brian set up Melodisc Records on Hollywood's Sunset Boulevard and recorded a mixture of jazz and blues which appealed to local listeners. This double album is an anthology of those recordings from 1945 and 1946, and it includes some jewels as well as some dross.

Some tracks bear the scars of age, so that the first two tracks are spoilt by surface noise which has not been improved by remastering. The recording quality is variable on some other tracks, so this collection is most likely to appeal to collectors who want to savour the atmosphere of mid-forties Los Angeles.

Jazz fans will enjoy the chance to hear such soloists as Lucky Thompson and Howard McGhee - the first like a laid-back Lester Young; the second an extrovert trumpeter. Both deserve to be better known. I am also glad to find the even lesser-known Jack McVea on some of these tracks, as he was a talented saxist who appeared in some Jazz at the Philharmonic concerts. His four tracks here range from the moody Silver Symphony to the speedy New Deal. It is also a pleasure to find four tracks by the eccentric Slim Gaillard, with the hilarious falsetto vocals of bassist Bam Brown.

Trumpeter Karl George played for McKinney's Cotton Pickers, Lionel Hampton and Stan Kenton amongst others, and his octet included such familiar names as Buddy Tate, J. J. Johnson and guitarist Freddie Green. Their four tracks are fine jazz performances with hints of bebop. The final four tracks by Joe Thomas's orchestra feature his excellent tenor sax.

Many of the other artists are blues performers, such as Marion Abernathy, whose Abernathy's Boogie sounds remarkably like Dinah Washington. King Perry & the Pied Pipers mingle the blues with jazz, while George Crawford mixes the blues with novelty songs. The Flennoy Trio has a similar style. Its leader, Lorenzo Flennoy, was most famous for leading a big band that included such people as Charlie Mingus and Buddy Collette. The King Perry Quintet features its leader, Oliver Perry singing as well as playing alto sax and clarinet.

The Melodisc story ended abruptly in November 1946, when Daniel F. O'Brian's premises burnt down. All the masters were destroyed, which is a pity, as the sound quality on this compilation might have been better if taken from masters. But it is a nostalgic collection which preserves the sounds and tastes of the mid-forties. The sleeve-notes are comprehensive and include some atmospheric photos.

Tony Augarde
www.augardebooks.co.uk



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