From the Record Shelves #168

My Fightin’ Gal

CD Classics 809

Here’s a rough blues from 1940 with Oran “Hot Lips” Page, trumpet and vocal, accompanied by a trio consisting of Leonard Feather, piano, Teddy Bunn, guitar, and Ernest “Bass” Hill on bass.

Hot Lips is not very happy with his gal. If I compare this with a familiar (and probably more seriously meant) blues with Billie Holiday, here is not a very beautiful voice and not forgiveness and reconciliation like when Billie sings, “My man don’t love me, he treats me awful mean… but when he starts to love me he’s so fine and mellow.” No, here the situation is just bad and nothing else.

It’s nice to hear the name of Joe Louis, whom I read about and admired as a kid. He held the title of heavyweight champion for more than ten years. And Henry Armstrong, who was a champion in three different divisions: featherweight, lightweight, and welterweight.

If we go back to the Dallas, Texas-born “Hot Lips” Page (1908–1954), he was at this stage in his career leading a big band to and fro; before this he had been a member of Bennie Moten’s and Count Basie’s Orchestras in the thirties. His specialty was, as we hear on this recording, the blues.