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Take It Away Leon
Leon Mcauliffe
Take It Away Leon
Genres: Country, Pop


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CD Details

All Artists: Leon Mcauliffe
Title: Take It Away Leon
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Harlequin Records
Release Date: 4/26/2004
Genres: Country, Pop
Styles: Bluegrass, Classic Country, Western Swing
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 008637218522, 000863721852

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CD Reviews

Interesting to good music More Jazz than Cowboy
Tony Thomas | SUNNY ISLES BEACH, FL USA | 05/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Steel guitar player par excellence Leon McAuliffe was one of the master musicians who passed through the Bob Wills band. His solos and Bob's intro to him in his famous recording of Steel Guitar rag "Take it away Leon" were so popular during the Second World War that they became catch phrases across the whole US population. After the World War II, Leon tried to go in more of a pop and Jazz direction, because that was really where his musical tastes were.

These are a set of recordings, a few air checks (recordings of radio broadcasts), and a chance recording of jam session of the large jazz-oriented band McAuliffe had in Tulsa in the late 1940s. This jazz unit had no commercial success. McAuliffe disbanded it and replace it with a more typical Western Swing combo featuring fiddles, guitars, and his own steel guitar with one horn. That became one of the best Western Swing units of all time. McAuliffe was then a success with the Western swing fans until the music's popularity faded away in the 1950s.

However, these are totally Jazz and blues oriented music. McAuliffe's Jazz is somewhere in the pop Swing of someone like Glenn Miller. McAuliffe had become close to Miller's great Sax Soloist Tex Benecke when they both served together as civilian instructors for military pilots in Tulsa during the war. However, McAuliffe's soloists are often take things further in the direction of blues or bop than Miller.

There are some nice Jazz solos on these cuts, especially the piano playing of Moe Billington who really distinguishes himself on all the cuts as a soloist worthy of a real jazz band. As often with Western swing, the more blues oriented selections seem to work better here such as "I Know My Baby Loves Me."

Also very interesting is the last selection "What the hell," a recording of a jam session by the band without McAuliffe. That session is total Bebop. I am sure that if I played it for several of my jazz musician friends they would believe it was an outake from such a jam session by a Black modern jazz group, rather than an all-white Oklahoma Western Swing group!

The recording quality of either the air checks and the records of this ban is less than perfect, but god denough to enjoy the great music here. There is a very good booklet with much of McAuliffe's history during these years, full personell listings for all the different dates, and some information about the recording companies Leon worked for during these years.

Nice to round out your Western Swing collection and to understand Western Swing's links with Jazz and pop. Nice to listen to as well."