Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Tiffany Transcriptions, Vol.3 - Basin Street Blues
Genres: Country, Pop
If you asked Bob Wills what kind of music he and his Texas Playboys played, he sure as hell wouldn't have said "country." He resented any association with "rural music," and once the western part of the term country & west... more »
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If you asked Bob Wills what kind of music he and his Texas Playboys played, he sure as hell wouldn't have said "country." He resented any association with "rural music," and once the western part of the term country & western somehow vanished, he felt even less (if possible) kinship with that genre. This Tiffany volume focuses exclusively on the jazz and blues staples that Wills adored, and it brilliantly highlights the band's improvisational sophistication. Most of the material here was popularized by jazz and blues legends of the 1920s and 1930s including Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Bessie Smith, and Memphis Minnie. As with all of the Tiffany radio transcriptions, recorded at the Playboys' late-1940s peak, Wills's crew would have at these tunes without a shred of rehearsal, giving them each that spark of spontaneity. --Marc Greilsamer
Hillbilly Jazz...as good as it gets
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ahhhh ha! Now if only the Hat Acts that run country music would give a listen. This is the stuff that dreams are made of, jazz from the sticks, swinging licks by the ultimate slick hicks. Bob and the boys have a ball on this one, mixing their own approach to swing with blues and jazz tunes (these are jazz classics NOW, but many were current then) and the results are as satisfying as they are hard to duplicate nowdays. I don't care how many hepcats dress up in zoot suits, ain't nobody does it the way the Playboys did it. And this is one of their best, most relaxed efforts. You can tell they're enjoying every minute of it, blending boundaries, mixing musical styles, the result is as smooth as a good red hot gumbo with an ice cold beer. There aren't a whole lot of 'Bob Wills Classics' on here, it's jazz, brought to you by Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. As only they could do it. If this one don't make you want to jump, sway and holler...better stick with them polka lessons."
"Hit it that time!" "Yeah!"
ewomack | MN USA | 07/21/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Yes. They wear cowboy hats. They play fiddles and ride horses and hail from Texas (Wills is from Turkey, Texas to be exact). They sing about "light folks" and "dark folks". They also have what is probably the most salient giveaway feature: lap-steel slide guitar. To modern musical stereotypes this means one thing: "country" music. Luckily the stereotypes will be greatly disappointed by the rich and almost eclectic mix on this CD (or any of the Tiffany Transcriptions CDs). Jazz lives here, cohabitating with blues and swing. Songs made famous by the giants of jazz (Ellington, etc.) pour out of the digital bits. Fiddle and slide guitar cozy up to electric blues and swing like lifelong lovers. This unlikely (in today's segmented music industry) combination exudes joy, spontaneous dancing and hollering. Wills himself does plenty of hollering before, after, and during songs. His gracious and often hilarious interactions with his band add a dimension to this music not often heard. During the guitar solo for "Milk Cow Blues" Wills shouts out proudly: "Ladies and Gentelemen that is Junior Barnard and his standard guitar... that is two more payments and it'll be his." On "I Never Knew" Tommy Duncan flubs a note in the verse and says "Missed that one" and laughs. When he hits the same note in the final verse, Wills says "Hit it that time!" Spontaneity of this caliber pervades the Tiffany recordings. Vocalists laugh out loud and speak off-the-cuff. Not typical stuff.
One major standout track, "Frankie Jean", features Tommy Duncan accompanied by only one guitar. Half spoken-word, half-whistling, this song adds another dimension to the band's repitoire.
This CD has an overall more bluesy feel than the more swing-coated previous two volumes. Still, the fiddles come out more than once to cure the blues on melodic danceable tunes like "Crazy Rhythm", "You Just Take Her", "Four Or Five Times", and "Take The 'A' Train". It's all undeniably Bob Wills, regardless of the twist."
Listen to Junior and this is the real playboy sound!
Tony Thomas | SUNNY ISLES BEACH, FL USA | 06/27/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A tribute to Junior Barnard get the tiffanies for him June 16, 2003
One of the most important legacies of the Tiffany transcriptions is the work of Lester Barnard Junior, the great guitarist who played with Wills between 1945 and 1947. His tenure with the band is largely missing its Columbia recordings of the Day. Barnard was like Spade Cooley's steel Guitarist Joacquim Murphy: he would simply disappear for weeks, and months at a whim or an intuition, but would always return to the band. Unfortunately, he died in an automobile accident in 1947.
Barnard was the real precursor of modern rock and rockabilly guitar playing. He set up his guitar in his own way with a DeArmond pickup and a pickup from a steel guitar, wired out of phase. He was one of the first to use a volume pedal. His though he had modified acoustic jazz guitars to electrify them, Junior's guitar almost always sounded like a solid body electric, not like an electric jazz guitar.
Thankfully, lots of Junior's work was recorded on the Tiffany recordings--in fact they ought to put out a best of Junior Barnard. On this CD listen in astonishment to the original version of the The Barnard Blues which snarls and twists and bites and cuts like something the Allman brothers would not be ashamed of. In fact this tract has been selected for several CDs offering the best of "country" guitar. I also love the Frankie Jean recitation by Tommy Duncan on this tune, and the guitar, mandolin, and steel trio work of Eldon Shamblin, Tiny Moore, and Herbie Remimngton on Crazy Rhythm and A-Train. The selections here indicate that this is jazz oriented-music as another reviewer has pointed out. Even four or five times which sounds like a traditional country bag is really out of the Lionel Hampton book! Just writing about it makes it sounds so good, I almost started to buy it, even though I have had this stuff since it first came out years ago."