W.C. Handy's Memphis Blues Band

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Arwulf Arwulf
Despite his importance as composer and pioneer of orchestrated blues, ragtime and classic jazz, cornetist and bandleader William Christopher Handy's recordings languished in obscurity for generations until 1994 when the Memphis Archives label brought out a compilation containing 16 hitherto rare examples of his carefully arranged dance music dating from 1917-1923. Tracks one through ten were recorded for the Columbia label in September 1917 by Handy's Orchestra of Memphis, a 13-piece ensemble that included two instrumentalists destined to become busy sessionmen in Chicago during the '20s. Most instantly audible especially on Al Morton's "Fuzzy Wuzzy Rag" is percussionist ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Arwulf Arwulf
Despite his importance as composer and pioneer of orchestrated blues, ragtime and classic jazz, cornetist and bandleader William Christopher Handy's recordings languished in obscurity for generations until 1994 when the Memphis Archives label brought out a compilation containing 16 hitherto rare examples of his carefully arranged dance music dating from 1917-1923. Tracks one through ten were recorded for the Columbia label in September 1917 by Handy's Orchestra of Memphis, a 13-piece ensemble that included two instrumentalists destined to become busy sessionmen in Chicago during the '20s. Most instantly audible especially on Al Morton's "Fuzzy Wuzzy Rag" is percussionist Jasper Taylor, heard here as drummer and xylophonist and later featured on sessions led by clarinetist Johnny Dodds. The other noteworthy participant was Darnell Howard, heard here on violin but best remembered as a clarinetist who sounded a bit like Jimmie Noone and who worked with King Oliver and Erskine Tate during the '20s. Howard also operated a violin as a member of the Earl Hines Orchestra during the '30s, and resurfaced on the West Coast years later with Kid Ory. The 1917 recordings are precious examples of syncopated dance music as it was performed before jazz became a popular trend. Tracks 11-16, recorded in 1922-1923 and issued on multiple small-time labels, are played by Handy's Memphis Blues Band, a decidedly jazzier-sounding group that is able to sink its teeth into numbers that were set to become standards in the repertoire of authentic jazz bands. This exciting sampler of Handy's early recorded works does not include four sides cut for the Lyric label in 1919, nor does it touch upon the other 12 recordings he is known to have made during the year 1923. Given the existence of ten titles Handy waxed for the Library of Congress in 1938, an all-star recording group he led in 1939, and additional material dating from the early '50s, the reissuing of W.C. Handy's recorded works has yet to attain fruition let alone completion. Fortunately, the folks at Memphis Archives established a precedent with this fascinating album of historic delights.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/28/1994
  • Label: Memphis Archives
  • UPC: 781371700620
  • Catalog Number: 7006
  • Sales rank: 64,128

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Fuzzy Wuzzy Rag - Handy's Orchestra of Memphis (3:13)
  2. 2 Snakey Blues - Handy's Orchestra of Memphis (2:59)
  3. 3 Ole Miss Rag - Handy's Orchestra of Memphis (2:47)
  4. 4 That Jazz Dance - Handy's Orchestra of Memphis (2:57)
  5. 5 The Old Town Pump - Handy's Orchestra of Memphis (3:05)
  6. 6 Moonlight Blues - Handy's Orchestra of Memphis (3:17)
  7. 7 Hooking Cow Blues - Handy's Orchestra of Memphis (3:06)
  8. 8 Bunch O Blues - Handy's Orchestra of Memphis (3:22)
  9. 9 Sweet Child - Handy's Orchestra of Memphis (3:03)
  10. 10 Livery Stable Blues - Handy's Orchestra of Memphis (2:47)
  11. 11 St. Louis Blues - W.C. Handy's Memphis Blues Band (3:02)
  12. 12 Yellow Dog Blues - W.C. Handy's Memphis Blues Band (3:14)
  13. 13 Muscle Shoals Blues - W.C. Handy's Memphis Blues Band (2:59)
  14. 14 She's a Mean Job Blues - W.C. Handy's Memphis Blues Band (2:58)
  15. 15 Gulf Coast Blues (2:48)
  16. 16 Farewell Blues (2:48)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
W.C. Handy Primary Artist, Piano, Cornet, Bandleader
Charles Harris Clarinet
Darnell Howard Violin
Jasper Taylor Drums, Xylophone
Wilson Townes Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Edward Alexander Violin
Alex Poole Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Handy's Orchestra of Memphis Track Performer
Archie Walls Tuba, String Bass
Nelson Kincaid Clarinet
Charles Hillman Piano
William Tyler Violin
Sylvester Bernard Trombone
Edward Alexander Violin
Charles Hillman Piano
Charles Harris Clarinet
Archie Wells Tuba
Technical Credits
W.C. Handy Composer, Director, Personnel
Rich Caughron Engineer
Charles Harris Personnel
Richard Hite Producer, Liner Notes
Darnell Howard Personnel
Paul Mares Composer
Leon Roppolo Composer
Elmer Schoebel Composer
Jasper Taylor Personnel
Wilson Townes Personnel
Clarence Williams Composer
Brad Kay Mastering
Eddie Dattel Executive Producer
Edward Alexander Personnel
Alex Poole Personnel
Nelson Kincaid Personnel
Charles Hillman Personnel
William Tyler Personnel
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