Monday, May 28, 2012


YEAR:  1954
LABEL:  Columbia
TRACK LISTING:  St. Louis Blues,  Yellow Dog Blues,  Loveless Love,  Aunt Hagar's Blues,  Long Gone (From Bowling Green),  The Memphis Blues (or Mister Crump),  Beale Street Blues,  Ole Miss Blues,  Chantez Las Bas (Sing 'Em Low),  Hesitating Blues,  Atlanta Blues (Make Me One Pallet On the Floor)
BONUS TRACKS:  George Avakian's Interview with W.C. Handy,  Loveless Love (Rehearsal Sequence),  Hesitating Blues (Rehearsal Sequence),  Alligator Story,  Long Gone (From Bowling Green)(Rehearsal Sequence)
IMPRESSIONS:  "What's a really good jazz album I can get, Maz?"  This was a frequent question I'd ask Maz when we'd chat while working at Borders.  She was in charge of the jazz cds and I was in charge of the classical cds.  One of the greatest jazz albums of all time was her answer.  This one.  "The father of the blues interpreted by the master of jazz trumpet and jazz singing..."  How could you go wrong?  A perfect album.  In the liner notes it tells of W.C. Handy listening to the playback with tears streaming down his sightless eyes stating:  "I never thought I'd hear my blues like this!  Truly wonderful!"  Called by Allmusic "Louis Armstrong's finest record of the 1950s" and "...essential music for all serious jazz collections".   
GUEST ARTISTS:  Velma Middleton (vocals)
FACT SHEET:  It's impossible to really number Louis Armstrong's albums since he predates LPs completely.  The album features Louis Armstrong and His All-Stars consisting of Louis Armstrong (trumpet, vocals), Barney Bigard (clarinet), Barrett Deems (drums),  Billy Kyle (piano), Arvell Shaw (bass), Trummy Young (trombone) and Velma Middleon (vocals).  The album was first issued on cd in 1986 to vast controversy as alternate versions of tracks were used meaning that it wasn't the same album as originally released; this happened all-too-frequently with Louis' cd reissues sadly.  Thankfully the 1997 cd re-issue (the one here) restored the album to the original version and also included the bonus tracks listed above including a short interview with Handy, Armstrong telling his "alligator joke" and some rehearsal takes. 

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