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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Charlie Christian Vol 2...........1939

As promised.........Vol. 2 of the complete Charlie Christian 

Volume 2 covers the period of November 4, 1939 through December 24, 1939.

Track 1 – A November 4, 1939 broadcast of the Camel Caravan produced the first version of “Shivers.”

Tracks 2 thru 7 – Columbia recording session on November 22nd — the second studio date with Goodman.

Two takes each of “Memories of You” and “Soft Winds.”

And the first recording of CC’s own “Seven Come Eleven.”

Charles takes an extraordinary full-chorus solo on his first recorded version of “Honeysuckle Rose” — the only time he would be featured with the full orchestra other than almost a year-and-a-half later on his own “Solo Flight” guitar concierto.

Track 8 – Camel Caravan broadcast of “Seven Come Eleven” on November 25.  This version has often been issued as “Roast Turkey Stomp” which was the original title of the tune.

Track 9 – “AC-DC Current” from the Waldorf-Astoria on November 27.

Track 10 – “Dinah” from a December 16 Camel Caravan broadcast.  Not only is Charles’ solo “a pure delight!”—as stated in the liner notes—but his amplified chord accompaniment on the vibes solo is so extraordinary that it becomes the main attraction of the chorus with the vibes playing the supporting role.  On the following chorus CC sustains the essence of the melody during parts of his exhilarating solo.  We’re fortunate indeed that at least this aircheck version of “Dinah” was captured, thanks to Jerry Newhouse.

Tracks 11 thru 14 – The third Columbia recording session with Goodman, on December 20.
A breakdown [CC’s solo is complete] and the master take of “Shivers” and the master of “AC-DC Current.”

The liner notes are right-on concerning CC’s innovative solo on “I’m Confessin’.”  I’m not particularly fond of Benny Goodman’s shrill, up-tempo solos but I must admit he could play the melody beautifully on some of the slow ballads.

Tracks 18 thru 21 – Charles’ second concert at Carnegie Hall—the 1939 “From Spirituals to Swing” concert on Christmas Eve.

Charlie Christian solos on three numbers with the Goodman sextet:   “Flying Home,” “Memories of You” and “Honeysuckle Rose.”  CC takes full-chorus solos on “Flying Home” and “Honeysuckle Rose.”

This is the last of the five times CC recorded “Memories of You” and it’s probably his best one—he gets the 8-bar minor-mode bridge on all versions and on all he double-times them with sixteenth notes.  On this rendition he plays some great augmented runs over the dominant-7 harmony on the next-to-the-last bar of his solo.

Then, for three more numbers, Charles becomes part of the Kansas City Six along with Lester Young, Buck Clayton, Freddie Green, Walter Page, and Jo Jones:
“Paging the Devil” and “Good Morning Blues” are the earliest existing recordings of Charlie Christian soloing on the blues and they are two of his best—not surprising, since here he is in the company of the best of his fellow bluesmen.

On “Way Down Yonder” Charles apparently was unexpectedly called on to solo and it takes half-a-dozen measures for him to turn up his amp and start his solo.

On the final item on the program, CC takes a three-chorus solo plus an 8-bar bridge on a wild jam of “Oh, Lady Be Good” that includes six pianists.  Unfortunately,  Charles’ third chorus has been edited out as in all issues including this one (actually, the edit jumps CC’s solo from the 31st bar of the second chorus of his solo to the 32nd bar of his third chorus).

[The recording with Charlie Christian’s complete solo was issued in August 1999 for the first time on From Spirituals to Swing (Vanguard 169/71-2), a 3-CD box set (regrettably, without the 8-bar piano intro).]

[Finally, in March 2001, the entire take was released on Charlie Christian—Complete Live Recordings (Definitive DRCD11177).]

[Reissued in its entirety in October 2001 on Masters of Jazz MJCD 189, Charlie Christian • Volume 9.]

A November 28 aircheck of “South of the Border” was omitted from this series. It was issued in 1997 for the first time on Camel Caravan Shows (Jazz Band EBCD 2139-2).

[Reissued in October 2001 on Masters of Jazz MJCD 189, Charlie Christian • Volume 9.]

All other available recordings from the period covered by this volume (November 4 through December 24) are on the CD, with the exception of the “AC-DC Current” from December 2nd that starts off volume 3.

Comments on the liner notes:

Page 16 – the erroneous statement that the December 2nd aircheck of “AC-DC Current” does not exist was later corrected in volume 3.

Pages 23 thru 25 (Discography) – During October, November, and December 1939, the Saturday Camel Caravan broadcasts emanated from NBC’s Radio City Studios.  The gig at the Waldorf-Astoria was on Mondays (broadcast on the Mutual Radio Network) and on Wednesdays and Thursdays (on CBS radio).

The tracks:

Memories of you
Memories of you
Soft winds
Soft winds
Seven come Eleven
Honeysuckle rose
AC-DC Current
AC-DC Current
Flying home
Memories of you
Honeysuckle rose
Pagin' the devil
Good mornin' blues
Way down yonder in New Orleans
Oh! lady be good


  1. Thank you very much for Charlie Christian Vol. 2!

  2. More to come....I have all 9 Any other guitarists that you'd like to see?