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SWING TO THE SOUND OF NEW ORLEANS

Blue Jay BJ-8812 11 tracks, 49 min.

Big Butter and Egg Man, Blue Horizon, Margie, Someday You'll be Sorry, Mackie-Messer, Stompin' at the Savoy, Body and Soul, As Long as I Live, Stars fell on Alabama, Hello Dolly.

This was the first CD I ever bought. It was Christmas and, having bought everyone's presents, I found I had $15 left in my pocket, the very price of this CD, so obviously it was meant for me to buy it. The fact that I didn't even own a CD player at the time did not enter into it. Despite having a cover showing a picture of a Negro band from Preservation Hall, New Orleans, I doubt if any of the un-named member of this jazz band are either American, or Negro. Well, I mean, how many American Negroes do you know who sing in perfectly accented German and in a style akin to the Dutch Swing College Band ? And all this on a Canadian label !

I know I risk being burnt at the stake for confessing it, but I do like to hear a soprano sax in a jazz band ( Sydney Bechet made me say that ). That pleasure comes on the aptly titled Blue Horizon, which hangs like a haze on a summer horizon. Rather than being an ensemble number with a soprano sax solo it is exactly the reverse, and therefore catches your attention all the more. Other tracks I really enjoyed were a swinging Big Butter and Egg Man, and of course Mackie-Messer (Mack the Knife to those non Herren Folk) with its lyrics sung in German ! Of the eleven tracks I am not too keen on three of them: Stomping at the Savoy, the trumpet / piano Body and Soul, and the trombone / piano Stars Fell on Alabama, all of them far too mainstream. Nice to dance to though.

It is a shame that neither the band, or its members, are named. The reeds player, with his smooth, slippery, style and the clean sounding trumpet player are very pleasing to listen to. It was an album I bought on impulse, unheard and unknown. If I had heard it, I would still have bought it.


HAPPY DIXIELAND

Intertape CD 113.026 12 Tracks 35 min.

La Fleur Blanche, Holland Moolen, The Student Of Heildelberg, Truck Stop, Green Forest, Marylin, Mon Chapeau, The Music Player, Love Of Fire, The Foot-Foot Dixie, Goodbye Of My Country, Bavarian Dixie

You can understand Aunty buying you this for Christmas can't you; you like jazz, the title says not only that it is Dixieland, but that it is "Happy" Dixieland, besides it is cheap and will make a change from the handkerchiefs she normally gets you. This music is very much as a layman would think of traditional jazz, all very arranged with no real feel or emotion. There is however a passable clarinettist and bass player trying to get out from under the lamination of enforced respectability. I suppose it could be best described as superior lift music.


RIVERBOAT DIXIE

THE BOURBON STREET STOMPERS

Cedar Records LJCD 106 24 Tracks 60 min

I've Been Working On The Railroad, When You Were Sweet 16 / While The Years Go Drifting By, Bill Bailey, After The Ball Is over / Many Happy Returns, Down By The Riverside, My Bonnie / My Gal Sal / Ida, Wait Till The Sunshines Nellie, Oh Susana / Camptown Races, I Don't Care / Hullo My Baby, Carry Me Back / Kentucky Babe / Cotton Fields, Maple Leaf Rag, Moon Over Miami, Rovin' Gambler, Dixie, Golden Slippers, At Georgia Camp Meeting, Swing Low / Old Time Religion / Go Down Moses, Lonesome Road, Saints, He's Got The Whole World In His Hand, Shortnin' Bread, Tom Dooley, Deep River, Jeanie With The Light Brown Hair / Laura Lee.

As you will gather from the large number of titles and the 60 min duration, nothing gets explored in depth. The band is banjo dominated, to the extent I was reminded of the Big Ben Banjo Band that used to have a show on the BBC Radio in the 50's, oh happy carefree days. It ain't that bad really, with some quite nice bits, though I think you would have had to have imbibed of the afore said Bourbon to think it good. The musicians do seem to be jazzmen, or at least jazz orientated; a bit less banjo and a bit more time to work the tune and they could have produced a much more interesting album; their choice of material, though very Southern States, is much wider than usual. It could have been a junk "Hooked On" type recording, but the musicians save it from that. To sum it up: well it is the sort of CD you put on whilst working in the garage on the car or motorcycle, quite pleasant and undemanding, and it don't matter too much if it gets damaged.

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