Alternative Takes: 1930-44

The Alternative Takes: 1930-44

by Cab Calloway
For the life of him, Cab Calloway could never understand why anybody would want to buy an instrumental record by the Cab Calloway Orchestra. After all, he was the star. He was the one who everybody paid good money to hear. Who cared about Chu Berry, Walter "Foots"


For the life of him, Cab Calloway could never understand why anybody would want to buy an instrumental record by the Cab Calloway Orchestra. After all, he was the star. He was the one who everybody paid good money to hear. Who cared about Chu Berry, Walter "Foots" Thomas, Ben Webster, Ike Quebec, Doc Cheatham, Dizzy Gillespie, or Jonah Jones? Cab was the star. For this reason, any Calloway recording without a vocal automatically holds a special place in the hearts of classic jazz lovers worldwide. Eight of the 25 tracks on this album are instrumentals. While that might not seem like an awful lot, it is a noticeably higher percentage than what is found on many other Calloway retrospectives. Whether they were alternate takes or sides that were originally left unissued (probably because there was no vocal!), this disc contains a small gold mine because of wordless performances like "Pluckin' the Bass" -- that great feature for young Milt Hinton -- and Hilton Jefferson's alto saxophone outing "Lonesome Nights." Benny Carter did a bit of arranging for this band, and left his persona etched into the titles "Calling All Bars" and "The Lone Arranger." A hot new mode of jamming becomes apparent in 1941 with "Special Delivery" and has completely transformed the entire band by 1944's "Cruisin' With Cab," heard here on a rare V-Disc pressing. All of this is not meant to deflate Calloway's importance and splendor as a flashy vocalist. This album follows the evolution of his voice and the bands that backed it up, from their modest beginnings in 1930 through 14 years of stylistic transformation. Aside from those obligatory hits "Minnie the Moocher" and "The Scat Song," the listener must endure a disturbingly offhand series of references to delirium tremens and dipsomania in "Jitter Bug," a song urging everyone to mix all their liquors together into one noxious, pernicious potion. Probably seemed like a good idea at the time. The trajectory of gradual musical modernization culminates with Cab's mature hip vocalizing style, best typified by "A Chicken Ain't Nothin' But a Bird." The strangest surprise of the entire package involves the inclusion of three V-Discs recorded in 1943. Lena Horne is heard in front of a twisted mutant version of the Calloway orchestra augmented by a Hollywood string section. She sings two sugar pop tunes and one fizzy arrangement of "Diga Diga Doo." Blindfolded, most listeners would not ever have been able to guess that the band behind Horne had anything whatsoever to do with Cab Calloway or the many outstanding musicians who worked with him over the years.

Product Details

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  1. Gotta Darn Good Reason Now (For Bein' Good)
  2. Sweet Jennie Lee
  3. Is That Religion?
  4. Strictly Cullud Affair
  5. Minnie the Moocher
  6. The Scat Song
  7. I Learned About Love from Her
  8. Jitter Bug
  9. Penguin Swing
  10. April in My Heart
  11. Pluckin' the Bass
  12. Calling All Bars
  13. The Lone Arranger
  14. Who's Yehoodi?
  15. I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance With You
  16. Bye Bye Blues
  17. Papa's in Bed With His Britches On
  18. Lonesome Nights
  19. A Chicken Ain't Nothin' But a Bird
  20. Geechie Joe
  21. Special Delivery
  22. Good-For-Nothin' Joe
  23. Diga Diga Doo
  24. There's No Two Ways About Love
  25. Cruisin' With Cab

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Cab Calloway   Primary Artist,Vocals
Danny Barker   Guitar
Chu Berry   Tenor Saxophone
Dizzy Gillespie   Trumpet
Lena Horne   Vocals
Illinois Jacquet   Tenor Saxophone
Jonah Jones   Trumpet
Ike Quebec   Tenor Saxophone
Cozy Cole   Drums
Tyree Glenn   Trombone,Vibes
Reuben Reeves   Trumpet
Quentin Jackson   Trombone
Mario Bauzá   Trumpet
Jerry Blake   Clarinet,Alto Saxophone
William Thornton Blue   Clarinet,Alto Saxophone
Doc Cheatham   Trumpet
Shad Collins   Trumpet
Wendell Culley   Trumpet
R.Q. Dickerson   Trumpet
Arville Harris   Clarinet,Alto Saxophone
J.C. Heard   Drums
Milt Hinton   String Bass
Hilton Jefferson   Alto Saxophone
Keg Johnson   Trombone
Claude Jones   Trombone
Leroy Maxey   Drums
Morgan   String Bass
Earres Prince   Piano
Irving "Mouse" Randolph   Trumpet
Dave Rivera   Piano
Jimmy Smith   Double Bass,String Bass
Russell Smith   Trumpet
Edwin Swayzee   Trumpet
Greely Walton   Baritone Saxophone
Paul Webster   Trumpet
Priest Wheeler   Trombone
Morris White   Banjo,Guitar
Lammar Wright   Trumpet
Fred Robinson   Trombone
Harry White   Trombone
Andrew Brown   Bass Clarinet,Tenor Saxophone
Cab Calloway & His Orchestra   Accompaniment
Walter "Foots" Thomas   Flute,Alto Saxophone,Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Chauncey Houghton   Clarinet,Alto Saxophone
Skinny Brown   Tenor Saxophone
Bernie Payne   Piano

Technical Credits

Bing Crosby   Composer
Hoagy Carmichael   Composer
Cab Calloway   Composer,Director
Roy Eldridge   Composer
Leonard Feather   Composer
James P. Johnson   Composer
Gerald Wilson   Composer
Matt Dennis   Composer
Andy Gibson   Arranger,Composer
Irving Mills   Composer
Jimmy McHugh   Composer
David Bennett   Composer
Benny Carter   Arranger,Composer
Rube Bloom   Composer
Walter Donaldson   Composer
Dorothy Fields   Composer
J. Neiburg   Composer
Jack Palmer   Composer
Mitchell Parish   Composer
Jesse Stone   Composer
Edwin Swayzee   Composer
Ned Washington   Composer
Priest Wheeler   Composer
Victor Young   Composer
Chauncey Gray   Composer
Bert Lown   Composer
Lamar Wright   Composer
K.H. Rosenzopf   Cover Art
Ted Koehler   Composer
Maceo Pinkard   Composer
Clarence Gaskill   Composer
Frank Perkins   Composer
Bill Seckler   Composer
Riki Parth   Producer
Helen Meinardi   Composer
Frederick Hamm   Composer
Emmet "Babe" Wallace   Composer

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