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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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BRITISH TRADITIONAL JAZZ

A Potted History 1936-63

LAKE LACD300

 

 

CD1: PRE HISTORY & A REVIVAL 1936-1953: Jazz Me Blues - Danny Polo & His Swing Stars; Sweet Sue - Sid Phillips & His Rhythm; Blue Turning Grey Over You - Nat Gonella & His Georgians; Smokey Mokes - Harry Gold & His Pieces Of Eight; Bluein' The Blues - George Webb's Dixielanders; Snake Rag - Yorkshire Jazz Band; Who's Sorry Now - Archie Semple's Capitol Jazz Band; King Of The Zulus - Mick Mulligan's Magnolia Jazz Band; Steamboat Stomp - Rax Foxley's Levee Stompers; Memphis Blues - The Original Dixielanders; Imperial Blues - Mick Gill's Imperial Jazz Band; That Da Da Strain - Carlo Krahmer - Humphrey Lyttelton Band; Gatemouth - Mike Daniels' Delta Jazz Band; Mahogany Hall Stomp - Humphrey Lyttelton & His Band; Camp Meeting Blues - Chris Barber's New Orleans Jazz Band; Get Out Of Here & Go On Home - The Crane River Jazz Band; Cakewalkin' Babies From Home - Steve Lane's Southern Stompers; Moose March - The Merseysippi Jazz Band; I'll See You In My Dreams - Sandy Brown's Jazz Band; Carolina Moon - Ken Colyer's Jazzmen; I Want A Girl - The Saints Jazz Band; At Sundown - Freddy Randall & His Band; You Always Hurt The One You Love - The Christie Brothers Stompers; Wolverine Blues - The Joe Daniels' Jazz Group.

CD2: CONSOLIDATION AND DEBUTS 1954-1958: Eccentric Rag - Alex Welsh & His Band; Milenburg Joys - Eric Silk's Southern Jazz Band; Every Day I Have The Blues - Neva Raphaelo with Eric Silk's Southern Jazz Band; Joe Turner's Blues - Cy Laurie Jazz Band; Shimme-Sha-Wabble - The Avon Cities Jazz Band; London Blues - Steve Lane's Southern Stompers; Muddy Water - George Melly with Mick Mulligan & His Magnolia Jazz Band; Ole Miss Rag - Terry Lightfoot's Jazzmen; That's A-Plenty - Mark White's Dixielanders; West End Blues - Beryl Bryden with Alex Welsh & His Band; Perdido St. Blues - The Zenith 6; Stevedore Stomp - Chris Barber's Jazz Band; Tears - Graham Stewart Seven; Pete Kelly's Blues - Sid Phillips & His Band; Lastic - Humphrey Lyttelton & His Band; Sobbin' Hearted Blues - Ottilie Patterson with Chris Barber's Jazz Band; Don't You Think I Love You - Mike Daniels' Delta Jazz Band; Gravier Street Blues - Ken Colyer's Jazzmen; Tin Roof Blues - Bobby Mickleburgh & His Bobcats; Jealousy - Freddy Randall & His Band; Freeze & Melt - Second City Jazz Band; China Boy - Fairweather-Brown All Stars; Don't Go `Way No Body - Mr Acker Bilk & His Paramount Jazz Band; Rockin' In Rhythm - The Happy Wanderers Street Band.
CD3: BOOM AND BUST 1959-1963: Tuxedo Rag - Monty Sunshine's Jazz Band; Sidewalk Blues - Terry Lightfoot's New Orleans Jazzmen; Young Woman's Blues - Beryl Bryden with Monty Sunshine's Jazz Band; We Shall Walk Through The Streets Of The City - Micky Ashman & His Ragtime Jazz Band; Creole Jazz - Mr Acker Bilk & His Paramount Jazz Band; King Porter Stomp - Mike Daniels' Delta Jazz Band; Up Above My Head - Ian Menzies' & His Clyde Valley Stompers; Charley My Boy - The Temperance Seven; Potato Head Blues - Kenny Ball's Jazzmen; Get Out And Get Under - Clinton Ford with The Merseysippi Jazz Band; Sensation Rag - The Big Ben Trad Band; Sleepy Time Down South - Bob Wallis & His Storyville Jazzmen; Out Of The Gallion - The Mike Cotton Jazzmen; Jeannie With The Light Brown Hair - Humphrey Lyttelton & His Band; Satchmo's Blues - Nat Gonella's Georgia Jazz Band; Bluebells Goodbye - Dick Charlesworth & His City Gents; Creole Bob Bo - Ken Colyer's Jazzman; Struttin' With Some Barbeque - The Saints Jazz Band; Black Mare Blues - George Melly; Way Down Yonder In New Orleans - Harry Gold & His Pieces Of Eight; I Want A Big Butter & Egg Man - George Chisholm's Tradsters with Jeannie Lamb; Lisa - Alex Welsh & His Band; Kansas City - Ottilie Patterson with Chris Barber's Jazz Band; Home - The Sims-Wheeler Vintage Jazz Band; Magnolia's Wedding Day - Chris Barber's Jazz Band

[78:39 + 76:37 + 79:13]

 

Phew. Just take a look. Three discs, packed to the gunnels with tracks which chart the course of British Traditional Jazz from 1936 to 1963. A number of years ago Lake issued a series of single volumes (LACD134/7) which documented The Great Revival in Britain from 1949 to 1958. This new set however has ranged widely to include some real rarities; 73 tracks including 24 previously unissued items and many of the others are by no means at all common. And one further thing; remarkably, these three discs are priced as for one. I should really leave it there, with the old lawyers' tag Res ipsa loquitur hanging in the air, but whilst the thing does in a sense speak for itself, it might be helpful to add a few words.

The forefathers are wrapped up in three initial tracks; trumpeters Tommy McQuater (whose only fault was being too much on the beat), Max Goldberg, and Nat Gonella; trombonist George Chisholm, inspired by Teagarden but already his own man by 1938, Sid Phillips, schooled but good. In superb symmetry McQuater, Chisholm, Gonella and Billy Amstell (tenor player with Phillips) reappear in the final volume. The cyclical nature of this is both poignant and salutary: they were still playing superbly. Of British pianists of the 30s, pre- Shearing, the finest for me was Eddie Macauley, whose Teddy Wilson-inspired refinement is always a tonic.

The discs follow a non-chronological progression but it's broadly an arc leading to the early 60s tracks of the final CD. Along the way there are just too many highlights, and it's one of the set's joys that you will stumble across a wholly unknown track and maybe even line-up. You can enjoy the Lu Watters-derived Harry Gold band of 1949 chugging away, and the Sound of the Revival, George Webb and his band. There's a rough and ready recording of Alex Welsh in 1952 with some lesser known companions, and there's ravin' Mick Mulligan playing a righteous Louis lead in 1950. Roy Foxley was an outstanding pianist, but his Levee Stompers were saddled with a merciless drummer and banjo player. This heavy rhythm was a besetting sin of the Revival of course, but it's more obvious in some bands than others. Mick Gill's Imperial Jazz Band is another rather lumpen example of the genre.

The Original Dixielanders, a retort if ever there was one, featured the two cornet leads from Webb's original band, Reg Rigden and Owen Bryce. They certainly instilled the Webb ethos in their fine band. Lyttelton is here in a really early side from 1946. This rarity has him teamed with Freddy Randall (there's a typo in the personnel listings that has Randall as a clarinettist; both Humph and Randall play cornet). The real clarinettist is John Dankworth. Pianist is the sublime Alan Clare, whom I used to see at the Dean Street Pizza Express playing for diners none the wiser. There's also early Chris Barber playing Camp Meeting Blues and Ken Colyer espousing New Orleans nanny goat vibrato in typical style with the Crane River Jazz Band in a rare side. A year later he was playing Carolina Moon with his own band in a much springier way. Sandy Brown and Al Fairweather, later to be such freewheeling and interesting exponents of the repertoire are here deep in Revivalist territory. To end the first disc Joe Daniels, a something of a pre-war veteran imparts some classy but reserved Dixieland to his performance of Wolverine Blues.

Notice I said this ends CD1. I hope this gives you some idea of what is in store for you throughout the three CDs. I won't spoil the surprises, so shan't tell you how impressed I was by the confident blues playing of the Zenith Six in disc two, or how disappointed I was by the plodding Eric Silk and his Southern Jazz Band supporting singer Neva Raphaelo. No room to point out Barber's sheer class in Stevedore Stomp or little known Syd Boatman's piano introduction, which is light classical, to Randall's recording of Jealousy (appropriate, then, in the circumstances). No room, either, to mention that the Second City Jazz Band sports the Doddsian clarinet and Bechet soprano sax of Jim Hyde. There's also a bass clarinet in there. The fun continues in the third disc, but I can't go on about the fiery boogie of Acker Bilk, the heavily laden Mike Daniels's Delta Jazz Band, or the tribute to Sister Rosetta Tharpe courtesy of Fionna Duncan and Ian Menzies and His Clyde Valley Stompers. One additional pleasure is hearing bands from all over the country parade their wares. And also to welcome the big stars of the pre-Beatles years, Ball, Bilk and Barber but also others powerfully active on the circuit, like Dick Charlesworth - gimmicky but ok - Bob Wallis (always good in my book) and all the others.

Well, phew, as I said. A splendid selection of tracks, many rare, has been enhanced by a truly superb and extensive 39 page booklet. There are a few personnel typos and omissions but

in a set like this, that is highly likely. The remastering has ensured that the tracks are heard in the best possible light.

This is a terrific undertaking. It's not intended as encyclopaedic; note the subtitle of `A Potted History'. Hats off to Lake for collation, preparation, art work and concept. Three discs for the price of one? Many previously unissued tracks in fair to good sound? What's not to like?

Jonathan Woolf



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