From the Record Shelves #212


LP RCA Vintage Series LPV-557

The Vintage series made compilations of tunes from special years on some albums. I bought them as they came out in chronological reverse order, starting in 1928 and finish with 1926 which is the album that I listen to today. I may come back to the other two later.

It starts with the best, Jean Goldkette’s Orchestra playing Sunday and you get the feeling at once that this was a happy year in spite of the funeral picture of Rudolph Valentino’s procession on the cover.

I have to say something about retrospective compilations. Once, a person lent me two shopping bags full of reel-to-reel tapes that contained transfers from his 78 rpm record collection of vintage Swedish popular music. They were recorded at low speed on all four possible sides, so it was many hours of music. I listened while I was ironing my shirts or doing something else at the same time, and there was absolutely nothing of interest for me. Still, I had many reissues of that kind of music that I liked very much. So the lesson was that it’s not guaranteed to be good because it’s old.

On this RCA record, the tunes are carefully selected and expertly transferred. The Goldkette Orchestra had sixteen happy, fruitful months with the best musicians, a perfect mix of those with a legitimate schooled background and some improvising ones like Bix Beiderbecke.

After the lively and funny vocals by Keller Sisters and Lynch accompanied by Eddie Lang’s rhythm guitar, the brass section takes over, with a 1926 unique forward-looking approach and Bix’s cornet in the lead. The tricky middle eight bars clarinet solo is played with bravura by Don Murray.

The tune is a masterpiece, from the direct opening to the final cymbal stroke, of balanced playing and good recording technique.