Jazz CD Reviews
Joe Williams & Count Basie – Everyday I Have the Blues – Roulette/Blue Note
Published on November 20, 2007
5099950482627 1959, 39:26 ****:
There has been much debate among Count Basie fans over who was the greatest male vocalist to front (for an extended period) the Count’s band. The big three triumvirate candidates have always been Big Joe Turner, Jimmy Rushing, and Joe Williams. I won’t make my selection here, but I will cop to the fact that my favorite Basie band was the one that backed Joe Williams during much of the Roulette Records period of the 1950s. This band featured the dream horns of Thad Jones, Snooky Young, Joe Newman; trombonists Henry Coker, Benny Powell and Al Grey; and the incomparable reeds of Marshall Royal, Frank Wess, Frank Foster, Billy Mitchell, Lockjaw Davis, and Charlie Fowlkes. Plus we have the ideal rhythm section of Freddie Green, Eddie Jones and Sonny Payne backing Basie’s piano.
Joe Williams had this magical band’s power to back his silky debonair baritone pipes for seven years – from Christmas of 1954 all the way until 1961. Williams’ blues emoting was “big city” and he had the swing of the tightest big band in the country to back him. Those were the days….Williams also had great enunciation and any listener could catch every word even when Basie’s big horn section was in full bloom.
One benefit of Blue Note’s reissue of this classic album is the remastering of Malcolm Addey. As respected as Rudy Van Gelder is to sound engineers, Addey has the same reputation among digital mastering critics. An Addey-remastered Mosaic set seals the deal for buyers who are sitting on the fence regarding a Mosaic box set purchase.
Everyday has many highlights besides the title track. It’s a Low Down Dirty Shame, Shake Rattle & Roll, with the band members providing background vocal encouragement; and Good Mornin’ Blues all boast great arrangements from the likes of Thad Jones, Frank Foster, and Ernie Wilkins.
Included in this release are four tracks recorded in either 1957 or 1958 which were featured on earlier Roulette LPs. Among them is the classic Five O’Clock in the Morning, for which Joe Williams wrote the lyrics.
This CD would make a great Christmas gift for someone who wants to get started on a Basie collection. Having Joe Williams along on vocals just makes your selection even more special. Now if you can just find single Basie CDs with Big Joe Turner and Jimmy Rushing on vocals, so you and your jazz friends can cast your vote for your favorite Basie male vocalist…..
TrackList: Everyday I Have the Blues, Baby, Won’t You Please Come Home, It’s a Low Down Dirty Shame, Shake Rattle and Roll, Just a Dream, Cherry Red, Good Mornin’ Blues, What Did You Win, Ain’t No Use, Gee Baby Ain’t I Good to You, Confessin’ the Blues, Five O’Clock in the Morning, How Can You Lose
- Jeff Krow