CD Reviews

MusicWeb International

Webmaster: Len Mullenger

[ Jazz index ] [Nostalgia index]  [ Classical MusicWeb ] [ Gerard Hoffnung ]

Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

AmazonUK   AmazonUS


The V-Disc Recordings

Sounds of Yester Year DSOY 842



1. Ballin' the Jack
2. Tin Roof Blues
3. Uncle Sam Blues
4. Blues
5. Introduction: Ain't Gonna Give Nobody None of My Jelly Roll (take 1)
6. Honeysuckle Rose
7. Ain't Gonna Give Nobody None of My Jelly Roll (take 2)
8. Introduction (1) by Bobby Hackett/Introduction (2) by Bobby Hackett and Eddie Condon/Introduction (3) by Bobby Hackett and Eddie Condon/Oh Baby (take 1)
9. Discussion by Tony Janak and Eddie Condon/Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams (Breakdown)/Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams
10. Discussion by Tony Janak and Eddie Condon/Struttin' with Some Barbecue
11. Introduction (1) by Bobby Hackett and Eddie Condon/Introduction (2) by Bobby Hackett and Eddie Condon/Oh Baby (take 2)
12. On the Sunny Side of the Street
13. My Honey's Lovin' Arms (Breakdown)/My Honey's Lovin' Arms (Breakdown)/My Honey's Lovin' Arms
14. Fidgety Feet

Sterling Bose - Trumpet
Miff Mole - Trombone
Pee Wee Russell - Clarinet
Gene Schroeder - Piano
Eddie Condon - Guitar
Bob Casey - Bass
Joe Grauso - Drums
Oran "Hot L:ips" Page - Trumpet, vocals (tracks 2, 3)

William "Wild Bill" Davison - Cornet
George Lugg - Trombone
Edmond Hall, Pee Wee Russell - Clarinets
James P. Johnson - Piano (tracks 4, 5)
Joe Bushkin - Piano (tracks 6, 7)
Eddie Condon - Guitar
George "Pops" Foster - Bass
Carl "Kansas" Fields - Drums
Jimmy Rushing - Vocals (track 4)

Bobby Hackett - Cornet
Robert "Cutty" Cutshall - Trombone
Michael "Peanuts" Hucko - Clarinet
Ernesto "Ernie" Caceres - Baritone sax
Charlie Queener - Piano
Eddie Condon - Guitar
Irv Manning - Bass
Morey Feld - Drums


Here is another set of valuable transfers from V-discs recorded in 1944 and 1948. V-discs are important because the masters were supposed to be destroyed but reissues have been made from surviving discs. They are also important because many of them were recorded when the American Federation of Musicians banned commercial recordings to be made from July 1942 to November 1944, so V-discs were the only recording outlet for jazz players. The discs here are particularly special as some of them were never released as V-discs because they were incomplete takes (marked above by "breakdown") or recordings considered to be inadequate.

Every track has the informal atmosphere typical of sessions organised by (or including) guitarist Eddie Condon. Condon was very different from Norman Granz, a producer who came to prominence in later years, but they had in common the ability to assemble jazz musicians for jam sessions which, despite their lack of rehearsal, were successful because the musicians involved were experienced jazzers familiar with the same repertoire. In the case of Condon's groups, the repertoire usually consisted of good old Dixieland numbers, as is the case here.

Two of the first three tracks have guest appearances by trumpeter Hot Lips Page, with him adding heartfelt vocals to Uncle Sam's Blues - which has some nice trumpet obbligato, presumably from Sterling Bose. The next four tracks were recorded by a different group four days later in 1944, with one of Condon's favourite cornettists, Wild Bill Davison, adding to the appeal. Jimmy Rushing's distinctive voice lifts what is simply called Blues, although it has a familiar Rushing theme ("I may be wrong but I won't be wrong always"). James P. Johnson, Ed Hall and Wild Bill contribute positively to this track, which lasts almost nine minutes and, like the other tracks from this session, was apparently never issued, perhaps because parts of the recording are fuzzy. But it is a delightfully free-and-easy track, with Condon's characteristic breaks letting every musician have a blow.

Track 5 is the first of several which contain studio chat before a tune was actually recorded. This gives the listener an idea of the jovial (and sometimes chaotic) atmosphere at these sessions. Track 8 has several false starts as Bobby Hackett and then Eddie Condon try to introduce the musicians, who play four bars each. Somehow they swing into the first of two takes of Oh Baby. The second take works better (after one false start!) , and was actually issued as a V-disc. My Honey's Lovin' Arms also needs three takes before it works satisfactorily, but it's educative to hear the breakdowns. The CD ends with a rousing Fidgety Feet which works first time.

Like many of the tunes in the second part of this CD, the music is lifted by the clear delivery by cornettist Bobby Hackett and worthy solos from Cutty Cutshall and Ernie Caceres. Altogether, we can be grateful for these V-discs being dug out of the vaults.

Tony Augarde

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Cameo Classics
Northern Flowers
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Return to Index

You can purchase CDs, tickets and musician's accessories and Save around 22% with these retailers: