Pat Strachan (tmb vcls kazoo ldr); Tom Taylor (cnt cl vcls); Mike Mackenzie (reeds wshbd); Colin Smith ((brs bs, str bs on (Old) Rockin' Chair)); Tom Jamieson (bjo gtr); Ian Leith (pno cover-illust); John Manson (vcls on Mississippi Mud)
Kitchen Man * Patrol Wagon Blues * Sidewlk Blues * Forty and Tight * Never Swat A Fly * (Old) Rockin' Chair * Mississippi Mud * New Down Home Rag * Snake Eyes * Someday Sweetheart (You'll Be Sorry) * Wild Man Blues * Blueses for Jimmy
Monster Jazz - MONJ3CD - Playing time; perhaps understated - Unity Recording Studio, Forres, Scotland
Here in the main, I’m also referring to trumpeter Red Nichols, trombonist Miff Mole, clarinettist ‘Fud’ Livingstone, all great musicians from that era, all of them being past members of The Charleston Chasers, the famous band that recorded “Mississippi Mud” on the 7th of March 1928
in New York.
The tent and vaudeville artist Mamie Smith in 1920 made the first recording the tune, that being Crazy Blues of which 100k copies were sold. Others like Ethel Waters and Bessie Smith who could elevate an audience within the first few bars when they sang could be described as Blues singers. Bessie, who could not do without her kitchen man, became famous for her enraptured, earthy, outspoken songs was loved by hot blossoming ladies, one of her favourite songs was Kitchen Man sung here by leader Pat Strachan of Ness River Rhythm Kings (NRRK) to astonishing remarkable effect, and so comparable with others in the UK namely Beryl Bryden who sang it with likeminded top-class jazz-bands.
I can only guess that Pat as the trombonist of NRRK, who is one of the exceptional vocalists led by John Manson former tuba player with the group that are around in this field, has taken Mississippi Mud as the title tune of his album, which is credited to trombonist Don Cavenaught and vocalist Harry Barris who, along with Bing Crosby prior to his crooner days, were members of the Paul Whiteman Orchestra that recorded the tune in 1928 on the 18th of February, in New York -– let’s hope that jazz does not lose out on any of these CD vocalists singing this number for them to become crooners, because their vocals have become an integral part of this NRRK album !
There is a lovely toned tuba or perhaps brass bass and beat in accompaniment with cornet, clarinet, catchy beautifully recorded piano soprano saxophone, trombone and – really nice banjo backing tempi harmonising, ensemble playing, which must be difficult to better throughout another album anywhere elsewhere.
The catchy terminology expressed on the piano earlier is clear on the opening of Patrol Wagon Blues with the cornet break calling this tune its own.
“I’m sorry boss but I’ve got the Sidewalk Blues Toot, Toot, by Jelly Roll who had George Mitchell, Kid Ory, Omer Simeon as his front liners on the 1926 recording of it, with nearly twice the length of the original recording that this CD has of it including exquisite piano movements, nearing a penultimate rounding up, the nice muted cornet to finale hoot-hoot horn blasts – simply talks wonders of the Sidewalk Blues.
Another popular song of that period was Someday Sweetheart (You’ll Be Sorry) recorded by Jelly Roll Morton’s Red Hot Peppers in December 1926 – Chicago with John A (Johnny) St Cyr on guitar in addition to the three greats noted in the previous chapter, and, probably Darnell Howard and Barney Bigard reeds and Luis Russel on piano – all then great jazz artists. The melody of the tune played by the brass bass player is a delightful replica of Bert Cobb on tuba in the King Oliver and his Dixie Syncopators at the Plantation Club. Also, it was sung in the 60s by trumpeter vocalist Thomas Jefferson on the way you treated me was wrong and, someday you’ll be sorry for there won’t be another – I’ll add comment to this Ness River tune further down the review – because it is sheer beauty.
Never Swat A Fly has lovely melodic vocals on it by cornetist Tom Taylor.
Chained to that old Rockin’ Chair - it’s possible that Hoag Carmichael may also have sung this song. But, with NRRK using the string bass although wise instead of keeping to the brass one, in this case, it does not produce the better results.
The Louis Armstrong Hot Seven in Chicago recording of Wild Man Blues on the 7th of May 1925 included Pete Briggs on tuba. For those listening to this “CD Mississippi Mud” album, the music played here on this track by these ‘Highlander of Scotland’ jazz artists give a very fine example of the period when trumpeter Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong was at his most creative. Also, listen if you can to the Heebie Jeebies scat vocals by him in his “Hot Five” days and, look-up the full group musicians of the time – for an insight to this Ness River 2006-year album.
Clarinettist, bandleader, Jimmie Noone’s Apex Orchestra during 1926-1928 played at the Apex Club in Chicago, formerly called the Nest Club, which included Earl Hines on piano. Two of their main recordings were Apex Blues and Four or Five Times which was a speedy tonguing test piece for clarinet, with regards the former; I can’t remember how it goes. Jimmie Noone died in L.A. 1944 and, any one of the musicians who played in his band with him, Kid Ory, Jack Teagarden among them, or when playing with King Olive and others could have created number twelve on the NRRK album Blues For Jimmie a song, which has become their live gig performances signature tune.
The Ness River Rhythm Kings ensemble playing is a joy to hear on this MONJ3CD album. Ensemble playing is sometimes sacrificed at live gig performances, where the enjoyment of the jazz artists in playing is principle for it to be communicated to their audiences, which it invariably does – lose something, win something.
When the NRRK who are resident at the Glen Mhor Hotel, Inverness, and are celebrating their 30th Anniversary since becoming founded, one can hear signature tune Blues For Jimmie ensemble playing played at its very best in the evening at going home time – stay to the end.
The "Mississippi Mud" and the "Red River Blues" albums both as one by the Ness River Rhythm Kings may well become a twin collector’s item – such is how great they are.
Kings Jazz Review
Monday the 28th of August 2006