THE SAINTS JAZZ BAND
Lake LACD105 1998, 21 tracks 66 minutes
I Want A Girl In Just A Like The Girl, Milenburg Joys, Tiger Rag, Savoy Blues, When The The Saints, Gawbies Lament, Stay Out Of The North, Orys Creole Trombone, Gone Away Blues, Who Walks In, Hey Lawdy Papa, Sweet Georgia Brown, Boogie Woogie Stomp, Miss Jenny's Ball, Fidgety Feet, Mahogany Hall Stomp, Stack O'lee Blues, Till We Meet Again, Blue Turning Grey, How Come You Do Me, Willie The Weeper.
I first came across the Saints in 1962 just after I had started to build up my jazz collection. It was my mother's birthday, and I had remembered her comments on a single by the Saints Jazz Band called "Roses of Pickardy". It had stuck in my mind, as her own name was Rose. Being a loving, and at times cunning, son, I bought it for her for her birthday and subsequently cared and looked after it for her in my collection. Some years later I bought an Encore LP called "The Saints Go Marching". The tracks were from 1956 and 58 and included the 1956 session on this CD. The Saints Jazz Band started up just after the war and the first tracks on the CD are from 1952, with the other sessions going through to 1956. Given the age of the recordings, and the sleeve notes acknowledgement of the deterioration of the master tapes, you will be very surprised to find that the music sounds surprisingly clean and well balanced, far more so than one usually finds on material of this vintage.
The Saints play honest and simple traditional jazz. Ok, they tend to play faster than is usual, and the banjo is inclined at times to "chunk, chunk, chunk," but the music is honest, and displays an enthusiasm and love of the music by the band members. It is, indeed, exuberant music that invites you to mentally take part in the exercise and, despite the age of the recordings, is young in its feel. I, for one, am glad that Lake has issued the CD and that I now have it in my collection.
THE SAINTS JAZZ BAND
SWINGIN' WITH THE SAINTS
Lake LACD147 2001, 21 tracks 63 minutes
Birth Of The Blues, I've Found A New Baby, Swingin' The Blues, Shine, Stars Fell On Alabama, Lazy River, Dallas Blues, Way Down Yonder In New Orleans, Tin Roof Blues, Washington & Lee swing, Clarinet Marmalade, S'Wonderful, Black & Blue, Ostrich Walk, Someday Sweetheart, Mandy, I'm Coming Virginia, Five Foot Two, Sweet William, Roses Of Picardy, There'll Be Some changes Made.
This CD has the balance of the tracks from the Encore LP I mentioned in the earlier review. There is a previously unpublished track (Birth Of The Blues) from 1958, with the rest being from 1959 to 1962. As I only 'discovered' the Saints in 1962 when I bought ' Roses Of Picardy' for my mother's birthday, the balance slipped through my fingers at the time. In the early 60s there were so many traditional jazz albums on offer and I had so little money to buy them with. Fortunately Lake and other labels are now offering many of the 'lost' LPs of the period on CD and it is possible to start filling the gaps in the collection.
I love the 'full' sound of the Saints, which on this CD is more Chicago than New Orleans. Of particular pleasure are the tracks that feature the vocals of Fred Fydler. Fred has an almost George Melly richness to his voice: very nice.
During the 50s and 60s the Saints were a powerful force in British jazz: listen to this CD and you will know why.
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