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

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A Jazz Club session and concert
with The Clyde Valley Stompers

the Allan Gilmour tapes





Chinatown, My Chinatown

Ain’t Gonna Give Nobody None of My Jelly Roll

When Somebody Thinks You’re Wonderful

The World is Waiting for the Sunrise

Rocking Chair

Aunt Hagar’s Blues

The Man I Love

Memories of You

Savoy Blues

China Boy

Beale Street Blues

Making Whoopee

High Society (version 1)

I’ve Found a New Baby


Scotland the Brave

Silver Threads Among The Gold

High Society (version 2)

St Louis Blues

Trombones to The Fore

Whistling Rufus

Lover Come Back To Me

Royal Garden Blues

Bonus Tracks;


Work Song

At The Jazz Band Ball

Peter and the Wolf

Loch Lomond

The Clyde Valley Stompers

Recorded 1961-62

LAKE LACD 329 [78:54 + 56:10]


Recorded in 1961-62, these tracks display the energy generated by The Clyde Valley Stompers, a band well versed in Chicago vernacular but led by Malcolm Higgins, a trumpeter who shows acute awareness of Red Allen’s angular lead. Chinatown, My Chinatown ends with a classic Condon band go-round, revealing the nature of the good, tight arrangements even when, as here, they’re heard in a live date – the Dancing Slipper in Nottingham. Habitués of this series will know that this means that the tapes derive from Allan Gilmour and form part of that sub-heading in Lake’s release. True, the dreaded dodgy piano is in evidence, against which Bert Murray battles, but of more interest is the cosmopolitan maturity of the young clarinettist, Pete Kerr.

For all his awareness of Red Allen, Higgins was an Armstrong man through and through as his feature on Rocking Chair shows but variety and versatility was the order of the day for this band. Like Humph, this band liked Jump music and there’s a solid swinger, with juicy back beat, on Aunt Hagar’s Blues. The Man I Love is a feature for two trombones – John McGuff and Bert Murray, who leaves the dodgy piano to wield the ‘bone. It reminded me of Humph and Wally’s two clarinet routines. Two quite well known names were in the band, in addition to those cited already, namely guitarist and banjo player Jim Douglas, and bassist Tucker Finlayson. Douglas takes a good solo on Memories of You, though it’s largely a feature for the woody-toned Kerr. Savoy Blues is, one feels, sub-Barber in execution.

One of the penalties of live recording is that one misses bits and pieces. Thus the opening of China Boy has been lopped, but one still hears Kerr exercising his Edmond Hall chops. High Society gets a righteous New Orleans workout – there’s a small patch of damage in the tape, expertly repaired - whilst drummer Robin Winter gets a long exhibition space for his wares in I’ve Found a New Baby.

The second CD – two for the price of one, by the way – was recorded in the Assembly Hall, Worthing, in May 1961. Murray sits out this one, and Ian Menzies replaces McGuff, Bill Bain replacing Finlayson. The band takes a somewhat different approach to High Society with the changed personnel on board than the way it was to approach the tune the following year. Higgins plays a tasty, driving lead throughout and the routines are still effective, not least the trombone and drum feature on Royal Garden Blues. Three additional tracks on this disc were recorded in London, with something of an echo. George Paterson sings on Diane – a dull track - but Work Song is much better; it appealed to Trad bands. There’s a gung-hoAt The Jazz Band Ball. Useful for completists but definitely not a good idea, musically speaking, are the jazzed versions of Peter and the Wolf and Loch Lomond.

These live performances give the band more time to stretch out. I think the results superior to the studio sessions from them – there’s more zest and risk-taking. And whilst not everything comes off, and whilst some of the playing remains so-so, at their best The Clyde Valley Stompers bring a zesty drive to performances that reward repeated listening.

Jonathan Woolf

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