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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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BOB CROSBY

South Rampart Street Parade

Retrospective RTS 4220

 

 

CD1
1. South Rampart Street Parade
2. Lullaby of Broadway
3. Summertime
4. Muskrat Ramble
5. Dixieland Shuffle
6. Stompin' at the Savoy
7. Savoy Blues
8. Royal Garden Blues
9. Gin Mill Blues
10. Little Rock Getaway
11. Stumbling
12. Who's Sorry Now?
13. Coquette
14. Fidgety Feet
15. You're Driving Me Crazy
16. Can't We Be Friends?
17. Martha (Ah, So Pure!)
18. Dogtown Blues
19. Panama
20. Wolverine Blues
21. Milk Cow Blues
22. March of the Bob Cats
23. Slow Mood
24. Big Foot Jump
25. The Big Crash From China
26. I Hear You Talking
27. Big Noise from Winnetka
 
CD2
1. Five Point Blues
2. You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby
3. Call Me a Taxi
4. I'm Prayin' Humble
5. What's New? (I'm Free)
6. Honky Tonk Train Blues
7. Diga-Diga-Doo
8. My Inspiration
9. Deep in a Dream
10. Loopin' the Loop
11. Skaters' Waltz in Swingtime
12. Stomp Off, Let's Go
13. Smokey Mary
14. Begin the Beguine
15. Hindustan
16. Mournin' Blues
17. Rose of Washington Square
18. Day In, Day Out
19. The Love Nest
20. Spain
21. Jazz Me Blues
22. Speakeasy
23. Vultee Special
24. That Da-Da Strain
25. Tin Roof Blues

Collective personnel
Bob Crosby - Leader, vocals
Billy Butterfield, Yank Lawson, Charlie Spivak, George Thow, Sterling Bose, Zeke Zarchy, Phil Hart, Andy Ferretti, Bill Graham, Shorty Sherock, Eddie Wade, Max Herman, Lyman Vunk - trumpets
Warren Smith, Ward Silloway, Tommy Dorsey, Joe Yuki, Don Mattison, Artie Foster, Mark Bennett, Jimmy Emert, Ray Conniff, Elmer Smithers, Floyd O'Brien, Buddy Morrrow - Trombones
Matty Matlock, Jimmy Dorsey, Jack Ferrier, - Clarinet, alto sax
Irving Fazola - Clarinet
Joe Kearns, Jack Stacey, Noni Bernardi, Bill Stegmeyer, George Koenig, Art Mendelsohn, Doc Rando - Alto sax
Eddie Miller - Tenor sax, clarinet
Gil Rodin - Alto sax, tenor sax, clarinet
Skeets Hurfurt, Dean Kincaide - Tenor sax
Bob Zurke, Bobby Van Eps, Gil Bowers, Floyd Bean, Joe Sullivan, Jess Stacy - Piano
Nappy Lamare - Guitar, vocals
Roc Hillman - Guitar
Bob Haggart - Double bass, whistling
Delmar Kaplan - Double bass,
Ray Bauduc, Ray McKinley, Haig Stephens - Drums
Judy Garland, Connee Boswell, Bing Crosby, Marion Mann, The Andrews Sisters, Helen Ward - Vocals
 

Bob Crosby was Bing Crosby's younger brother and, like Bing, he was a singer. But he really came to prominence in 1935 when Ben Pollack ceased to be a bandleader and the remaining musicians of Pollack's band elected Bob Crosby as their new leader, adding some new musicians in New York. Bob Crosby sang occasionally with the band but his main role was as a genial frontman. The band existed until 1942 and was assembled again from time to time, with some of its members becoming prominent in the World's Greatest Jazz Band from 1968.

The Retrospective label celebrates the centenary of Bob Crosby's birth with this generous double album containing 158 minutes of some of the Crosby band's best recordings. As is usual with this label, the band's greatest hit is used as the album title and appears first on the compilation, even though this disrupts the chronological order which is otherwise usefully maintained for most of the album.

South Rampart Street Parade dates from 1937 and is a typically spirited performance in the arranged Dixieland style which the band made its own. The strong front line - containing such stars as Billy Butterfield, Eddie Miller and Irving Fazola - was backed by a strong rhythm section, in which Ray Bauduc's drumming was a distinctive and vital element. His playing is featured in the last three tracks on the first CD, most memorably in Big Noise From Winnetka, a duet which he performs with bassist (and whistler) Bob Haggart. This is often regarded as a novelty number but it is also a very clever invention, including dramatic pauses and the use of drumsticks on the bass strings.

Lullaby of Broadway is actually by the Dorsey Brothers' Orchestra, recorded in 1935, but it is included here to illustrate Bob Crosby's vocal style. He had a pleasant voice without quite the special charm of his brother Bing. Summertime is from 1938 and appears here because it was the band's signature tune.

Then we revert to chronological order, with several tracks from 1936. These typify the band's repertoire, which mostly concentrated on classic jazz numbers like Muskrat Ramble and Royal Garden Blues. This gave the group an untypical sound for the swing era, with arrangements by the likes of Bob Haggart and Matty Matlock refreshing the old tunes with new clothes. A swing player like tenorist Eddie Miller was able to fit in with this style, which was eclectic enough to embrace various influences. This mix is clear in such tracks as Stompin'\ at the Savoy, recorded in 1936 (the year it was composed) and with a vocal by the 14-year-old Judy Garland. Other singers include Connee Boswell, the Andrews Sisters, Helen Ward, and (in You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby) Bing Crosby.

Some of the most invigorating tracks were recorded by the Bob Cats, an octet from within the band. This was closer in size and style to the small groups which were common in the early days of jazz, and it anticipated the many trad bands which thrived after the Second World War. Yet few of today's trad groups can match the brilliance of such soloists as Yank Lawson, Eddie Miller or Bob Zurke, or the arrangements which meant that the band never sounded disorganised.

To borrow a phrase from Digby Fairweather's enthusiastic sleeve-note (which is sadly marred by some misprints), the Bob Crosby Orchesatra tidied up Dixieland without tying its creative hands.

Tony Augarde
www.augardebooks.co.uk



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