Happy New Year folks and here’s the first post of 2010! And let’s get back into true Be Bop Wino territory – the mid to late 1940’s when rhythm and blues was developing out of swing and jump and it was hard to tell where jazz left off and R&B began. Of the artists on this LP, Cleo Brown, Helen Humes, Betty Hall Jones and Addie Williams were all swing era veterans.
Pianist / vocalist Cleo Brown’s recording career stretched back to the mid 1930s with Decca Records. Singer Helen Humes’ recording career began in 1927. After a spell with a band led by Big Al Sears, she joined the Count Basie band in 1938 and remained with them until 1941. She moved to the West Coast during the war and in 1945 recorded with the Bill Doggett Octet for Philo / Aladdin, having a moderate hit with “He May Be Your Man” and a massive hit with “Be-Baba-Leba.” The two sides on this collection were recorded for Philo / Aladdin in December 1945 with backing provided by a band featuring Lester Young and Maxwell Davis. The bluesy “Stop Jivin’ Around” was unreleased.
As for Addie Williams – all I know is that she was active in Kansas City in the mid 1930s when she worked with Betty Hall Jones who is very much the star of this collection. Other artists here of whom I know next to nothing are Rose Mitchell whose powerhouse performance of “Baby Please Don’t Go” dates from 1954 and may be backed by the Dave Bartholomew band; and Tina Dixon who may or may not be the “Auntie Tina Dixon” who recorded raunchy “party” LPs for Laff Records. Check out the covers on lpcoverlover.com here and here, and judge for yourselves.
The whole of side B of this LP is devoted to sophisticated piano playing chantoozy and comedienne Betty Hall Jones. If you like Julia Lee or Nellie Lutcher then you’ll like the work of Miss Jones. Her career began in the 1920s in California, continued in Kansas City in the mid 1930s with the Bus Moten band, and then back to California and a spell with an early line up of the Roy Milton band between 1937 and 1942. In 1946 and 1947 she recorded with the jump band of Luke Jones for Atlas Records. The seven sides on this collection were recorded over two sessions in 1949 for Capitol. The backing bands were led by guitarist Tiny Webb and included Bumps Myers, Dave Cavanaugh, Jesse Price and Maxwell Davis.
Miss Jones’ music provides hip and humorous commentary on life’s vicissitudes in a style similar to that of Louis Jordan. Perhaps the highlight is “This Joint’s Too Hip For Me” in which Miss Jones laments the stylistic excesses of beboppers Howard McGhee, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie and states her preference for more mainstream musicians like Louis Armstrong, Louis Jordan, Coleman Hawkins, Count Basie and Jack Teagarden.
This LP was issued on the Pathe Marconi label in 1985. The recordings were originally made for Philo / Aladdin, Capitol and Imperial.
Ripped from vinyl at 320 kbps.
Download from here:
1. Baby Please Don't Go - Rose Mitchell
2. Cleo's Boogie - Cleo Brown
3. Maybe Someday - Addie Williams
4. Stop Jivin' Around - Helen Humes
5. Please Let Me Forget - Helen Humes
6. Hello Baby - Tina Dixon
7. Don't You Know I Want To Love You - Tina Dixon
8. You Got To Have What It Takes - Betty Hall Jones
9. If I Ever Cry (You'll Never Know) - Betty Hall Jones
10. This Joint's Too Hip For Me - Betty Hall Jones
11. Thrill Me - Betty Hall Jones
12. Buddy Stay Off That Wine - Betty Hall Jones
13. That's A Man For You - Betty Hall Jones
14. I Never Miss The Sunshine (I'm So Used To The Rain) - Betty Hall Jones
Blue Moon is a label which I don’t think I’ve mentioned on the blog so far. They have released many CDs of 1940s / early 1950s jump and R&B, including a 22 tracker of Betty Hall Jones called “Complete Recordings 1947-1954.” The complete Blue Moon R&B catalogue is well worth investigating if you are of the Be Bop Wino persuasion.
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