From the Record Shelves #194

After Tonight

LP Classic Jazz Masters CJM 14

Clarence Williams’ vast output on records can roughly be divided into three periods. First, we have the acoustic ones, with great participation by Sidney Bechet and Louis Armstrong and banjo player Buddy Christian as a reliable sideman. Then, a second period when he could use different musicians working in New York, but with a very important steady group member in cornet player Ed Allen, and around him different, sometimes hard-to-identify clarinet and sax players. The period can be subdivided into washboard or tuba groups, since seldom both instruments are present in the same recording. The personnel varies from small groups to big bands, and many classic sides were the result of those 1926–29 activities.

Now we have come to the third period that produced today’s record. Clarence used small settings, like in this case a quartet, and some of the members were steadily employed. Clarence or his wife Eva Taylor did the vocals, and Ed Allen was still there with his half-muted cornet playing. The clarinet was handled in a swinging, personal way by Cecil Scott and the washboard playing of Floyd Casey and Williams own piano playing provided a steady ground for the proceedings.

This nice, sad song, here with a Clarence Williams vocal, was composed by Clarence and Lil Armstrong in collaboration with Ralph Matthews, and recorded on September 1, 1933.

A bit of gossip: Eva Taylor has said that Louis Armstrong, who was in a divorce process with his second wife Lil, was mad at Clarence for helping her get a job on radio and at the Harlem Opera House. Those engagements were Lil Hardin/Armstrong’s first as a singer, something that she developed further in the years to come.