This is a selection of some of the most memorable tracks from the many fast-selling LPs that Johnny Hodges and the organist Wild Bill Davis made together back in the good 'ole 1960's. Most of the material was written down by Hodges himself, sometimes in collaboration with one or another of his long-time associates in Duke Ellington's band and in two cases, "Hodge Podge" and "Harmony in Harlem", with the master himself. Several classics of easy-listening music such as Hash Brown and Wings and Things are included.
The latter, the longest track here, typifies the sort of performance that made the original releases so popular. Just as simple and direct is the more relaxed A&R Blues and in all cases the rapport between these masters is obvious. Davis sometimes uses his instrument with restraint, but he more often cuts loose, as in those many pieces where Hodges lays familiar blues phrases end to end with Davis blasting away behind him. Neither of them is afraid to repeat the same idea over and again, and on all tracks barring the ballads the rhythm sections keep up a heavy, absolutely unvarying beat, really driving things to the ground.
As should be expected there are no signs of hesitancy or inhibition in these performances, and that tells us a great deal about Hodges in the sense that he sounds completely different here from in the many sophisticated vehicles the Duke provided him with. The same goes for distinguished trombonist Lawrence Brown who plays along on several tracks. But it really is all down to Hodges and Davis who manage to make these pieces their own. Having heard these two play them, nobody would want to hear them played by anyone else. Track listing:
1. Blue Hodge 2. Hodge Podge 3. Knuckles 4. Jones 5. I Cried for You 6. A&R Blues 7. Wings and Things 8. Peg o' my Heart 9. Spotted Dog 10.Blues for Madeleine 11.Rabbit Out of the Hat 12.Hash Brown 13.Harmony in Harlem 14.Blues o' Mighty
Various personnel, recorded between 1961-66, Verve 1988
The attitude of the gallant Six Hundred which so aroused Lord Tennyson's admiration arose from the fact that the least disposition to ask the reason why was discouraged by tricing the would-be inquirer to the triangle and flogging him into insensibility.
Advance to Barbarism
(Mitre Press, 1968).
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Listeners are therefore kindly requested to buy the original music and support artists if they fancy what they hear - remember: if you like it, buy it!