Bass – Rudy Brown, Drums – Al Duncan, Guitar – Gary Bell, Keyboards – Bobby Blevins, Saxophone – Lee Allen , Saxophone [Alto] – Red Holloway, Saxophone [Baritone] – Jerry Jummonville, Trumpet – Ike Williams
Producer – Norman Granz
Vinyl; Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable (with Sumiko Blue Point 2 cartridge, Speedbox power supply); Creek Audio OBH-15; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 192khz; Click Repair light settings; individual clicks and pops taken out with Adobe Audition 3.0 - resampled (and dithered for 16-bit) using iZotope RX Advanced. Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename.
There's really no particular reason why I'm posting this particular album other than that I was going through my crates of records, stumbled on this one, and realized I couldn't remember what it sounded like. So I took it out, put it on the turntable, and now here it is.
This could be called a 'jump blues' album but it's basically jam session and, like the Kansas City tradition where Joe Turner hails from, what you call it isn't really all that important. It's the groove and the swing and all these guys got plenty of it. Nat Hentoff provides nice liner notes, although he doesn't praise Red Holloway nearly enough, and doesn't even mention stalwart blues drummer Al Duncan. He also skirts around the fact that he had nothing to do with the session, wasn't there, and doesn't seem to have anything to say about the particular day in the studio when these two luminaries were brought together. Label head Norman Granz (of Jazz At The Philharmonic and Verve Records) apparently had Big Joe doing all kinds of 'duet' albums like this during his stint with Pablo, but this is the only one I have. In reality, they only sing *together* on the first side, where they trade off verses. The second is split evenly between the two of them.
Hentoff, oddly enough, mentions being surprised by a rather disturbing line that Witherspoon sings in the impromptu "Blues Lament", but only because he hadn't heard it before, not because it was, well, really, REALLY not cool: "I'm going to take you to the dentist tomorrow morning, because I'm knockin' out all your teeth tonight." Dude... just not cool at all.
Spoon sounds really at ease doing Jimmy Reed's "You Got Me Runnin'." Although both these guys were in the twilights of their careers at this point, I have to say that Witherspoon sounds in better form. He nails this, and the chestnut standard "I Want A Little Girl," which has become an unofficial anthem for pedophiles the world over. Big Joe is a lot of fun though. Kansas City On My Mind is a great slow-burner, but the kicker for me is "J.T.'s Blues". I'll also give $20 to anyone who can transcribe the lyrics to the first verse. I actually find myself cracking up laughing trying to figure out what the hell he's saying.
Just for the hell if it, I've included a partial list of all the people who've recorded "I Want A Little Girl."
I WANT A LITTLE GIRL (Billy Moll / Murray Mancher)
McKinney's Cotton Pickers (vocal: George Thomas) - 1930
Count Basie & His Orch. - 1956 Big Joe Turner - 1956 Ray Charles - 1958 Benny Goodman's Big Band - 1958 Billy Eckstine (with Count Basie & His Orch.) - 1959 Vic Damone - 1962 Oscar Peterson Trio Plus One - 1964 Jimmy Rushing - 1971 Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson - 1981 Roy Eldridge - 1986 Joe Williams - 1987 Jimmy Witherspoon - 1988 Bert Firman & his Rhythmic Eight - 1930 Louis Armstrong - 1946 Kay Starr ("Boy") - 1955 Sammy Price - 1957 Nat "King" Cole w Count Basie's Orch (but not CB!) '58
Also recorded by: Pee Wee Russell; Jimmy Smith; Ike Quebec; Ben Webster; Jack McDuff; Lou Donaldson; T-Bone Walker; Earl Hines; Clark Terry.......and others.
Not an essential piece of either of their discographies, but still a fun record to have around.
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