The Passing of the 40’s, the event, not the compilation album, must have been a riveting and ambitious affair. Big bands were still the big deal, and the seeds of rock n’ roll had just been planted. With big bands for the quaint, and jazz for the city folk, The Big Band Era Volume IV (The Passing of the 40’s) covered a lot of ground, and offered much to a wide range of listeners. As seen on TV, and neatly organized in the library.
The Big Bay Band (one that I’d not previously hear of) released a tribute album, of sorts, to the great Count Basie with their 1958 party pleaser, Rock-A-Bye Basie. Release on translucent red vinyl, as you can clearly see, this 10-track “covers” release includes works by George Gershwin, Benny Goodman, J. Mayo Williams, Lester Young, and the great Count Basie.
In you’re in the big band mood on a little band budget, Rock-A-Bye Basie is that swingin’ jazz medley you’ve been searching for.
It’s exceptionally difficult not to indulge in the carefree climate that Percy Faith and His Orchestra spews forth with unquestionable fluidity. The March of Siamese Children, The Hot Canary, Kitten on the Keys, Fiddle Derby, and Dizzy Fingers, to name only a few, make this Columbia Records 10” LP worthy of any layperson’s engaging Thursday evening.
File this mistake under, “adolescent oversight.” This is as much an edition for collectors as the New Edition is a rival for most influential band of the 80s. You see, in 1997, big band music was big; at least it was where I grew up. It was a nostalgic glimpse into a well thought-out hoax, perfect to rival the Macarena and Aqua’s Barbie Girl. Commercial radio was sick-to-your-stomach-painful in the late 90s, and my overexcitement for something… ANYTHING different proved to be the better of me.
I had, in my faded understanding, neglected to grasp the fact that Great Hits of the Great Bands wasn’t a proper, cohesive release. I’d recently contemplated offering it up to the corner thrift if it weren’t for the sentimental value it (lethargically) held, but instead, I’ll keep it show the very simple, yet painful fact that very, very little has changed in the past 17 years.
Slap a cap on the man, and give him a trombone, because RCA Victor Presents, Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band. Released in 1955, the five disc collection of patriotic big band hits serve God, country, and an eager ear with a cold shower, discipline, and a swingin’ good time.
As the 16-page informational booklet boasts:
“We didn’t come here to set any fashions in music. We merely came to bring a much-needed touch of home to some lads who have been here a couple of years. These lads are doing a hell of a job – they have been starved for real, live American music.” – Mr. Major Glenn Miller
Serving as leader of the 50-piece Army Air Force Band (from 1942 – 1944), Mr. Miller’s voluptuous, and international success was met with a stormy cloud of pouring despair when the plane he was occupying went missing on December 15th, 1944. The clouds of sadness would eventually depart, but the resulting flood has never receded.
Oh, and fyi, if you Google “Glenn Miller,” the photo that pops up (to the right) is of Jimmy Stewart, PLAYING Glenn Miller. Here’s a link, oh curious Curtis.
Not only is Bobcats Blues by Bob Crosby a riot of a blues album, its cover art is the best I’ve seen nearly all year! Released on Coral Records in 1956 (according to allmusic.com, although I believe this to be false), Bob Crosby and his merry band of saucer-lickers combine brass-happy jazz with the upswing ruckus of big band blues. Better known for their Dixieland ways, the Bobcats remain ambiguously cool while reminiscing the big band sounds of yesteryear (think the Dorsey Brothers, Les Brown or Glenn Miller on three pots of coffee).
This cat-astrophicly cool cover will remain, proudly I might add, on display in the PG office for the foreseeable future. With its combination of great, upbeat background jazz-infused blues, together with its amazing “cats on parade” cover, I strongly suggest you run out and adopt this album as soon as humanly possibly. Although Bob’s older brother Bing stole much of the family’s spotlight, mom and pop Crosby can’t help but view Bobcats Blues as the family’s crowning achievement.
200 days ago I had a stupid, ridiculous, time-suck of an idea that (reluctantly) set itself free into this world… this illustrious (and regrettable) collection of short-tempered blurbs known as, The Prudent Groove.
Do I offer free downloads? No… (unless you email me). Do I solve even a smidge of the world’s problems with this 365 consecutive day project? Hello no, and I don’t even attempt to pretend that I do… except, yeah, I have unwarranted and unstable proof that my daily ramblings bring a bit of black (groove-intensive) sunshine to each and every reader, by way of my precise, personal (albeit strikingly intimate), subdued, and voyeuristic means.
Take The Groove for what it is… pure, unadulterated drivel.
The Groove is a self-deprecating dead-end that serves the purpose of one man, and one man alone… some wayward chap in Belfast, Ireland… I’m just kidding… I wanted to further my communal expressions, and I gave myself a daily task. Well, it’s been 200 days, and you may be asking, “Was it worth it?” The quick answer is, “Dear God, no!” But the truth… as far as I’m willing to admit is, “Yeah, I’ve had my moments.”
Like the Westward bound forefathers, and/or the curious, and moderately insane settlers of early Americana, The Prudent Groove marches on. Let’s just hope Typhoid doesn’t rear its ugly head while I’m attempting to forge across this self-imposed river of creative nonsense. If I’ve learned anything from The Oregon Trail, it’s that Malaria is a bitch, and hunting is better left to the experts. Choose your grooves cautiously, ladies and gentlemen, and always, I’m not joking here, ALWAYS feed your oxen.
Today, why not try a bit of big band swing from Charlie Barnet’s 1959 album, More Charlie Barnet? After all, it was made from 35mm Magnetic Film, and the cover sports an artist’s rendering of vintage headphones… and the “R” in Charlie is made up of a saxophone, so you know it’s a winner.