Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

December 28, 2020

Bob Crosby, ‘Bobcats Blues’ (Coral Records LP, 1956)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 1:31 am

BOB CROSBY, BOBCATS BLUES (Coral Records LP, MONO, 1956)

A1 St. Louis Blues
A2 Blues For You
A3 Loveless Love
A4 The Memphis Blues
A5 Yellow Dog Blues
A6 Lose All My Blues (For You)
B1 Exodus Blues
B2 Beale Street Blues
B3 Joe Turner’s Blues
B4 Aunt Hagar’s Blues
B5 Way Down South Where The Blues Began
B6 Ash Trays For Two

Beginning in 1935, bands fronted by vocalist Bob Crosby made fine music, continuing on until long after the big-band era was over. Though not a musician himself, Bob Crosby’s “brand” eventually became identified with first-rate big-band adaptations of Dixieland jazz. Crosby’s 30’s and 40’s bands still played a wide variety of then-popular swing music, but the core of the band was always based in New Orleans/Chicago jazz. As esteemed an authority as the late George Buck has stated that the Crosby band was his favorite of the big-band era, and the small group-within-a-group, BOB CROSBY’S BOBCATS, could always hold their own with whatever masters like Eddie Condon had on offer in the small-group traditional jazz vein.

In the 1950’s, Crosby had moved on to both radio and TV success, both on the Jack Benny Program (where he replaced Phil Harris as the bandleader) and on his own shows. However, he still assembled bands for his recording contract with Decca’s CORAL subsidiary (there were a number of fine jazz albums on Coral), and he often used former Bobcats from the golden days, as well as other greats of traditional jazz.

This album was new to me, when I encountered it online recently, but any fan of the patented Crosby big-band-dixie sound should find it a brisk and stimulating listen. I recognized the inimitable saxophone of Eddie Miller, and an online search gave up some of the other names on the album, including such greats as Charlie Teagarden, Nappy LaMere, Ray Bauduc, Matty Matlock, Dick Cathcart, Nick Fatool, and Abe Lincoln.

Also, 8 of the 12 songs on the album are from the pen of W.C. Handy! That should give you an idea of what’s in store within the punchy MONO grooves of this Coral album.

Now, I’ve got to hear the other mid-50’s albums Crosby’s crews recorded for Coral–I’d gamble they are in a similar vein, since there was still something of a traditional jazz revival going on in the mid-50’s….and there were a lot of big-band fans who were now middle-aged and wanted LP’s of their favorite bands to play on their hi-fi systems.

Put this album on while reading or doing something around the house and you’ll feel like you are on the set of the Jack Webb film PETE KELLY’S BLUES….or seeing the prime Crosby band of 1942, with all the jazz and none of the pop vocals. And you can get a copy on Discogs for under two dollars!

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