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BARBER & BILK - Rolling Back The Years

CHRIS BARBER & HIS JAZZ BAND
ACKER BILK & HIS PARAMOUNT JAZZ BAND

What a coupling two trad jazz legends from their pioneering days of the late fifties. Now turn back the clock, roll back the years and live again in the company of two of the best in the business – and enjoy every minute.

CHRIS BARBER & HIS JAZZ BAND Petite Fleur
ACKER BILK & HIS PARAMOUNT JAZZ BAND Dardanella
CHRIS BARBER & HIS JAZZ BAND Wabash Blues
ACKER BILK & HIS PARAMOUNT JAZZ BAND Franklin Street Blues
CHRIS BARBER & HIS JAZZ BAND The Old Rugged Cross
ACKER BILK & HIS PARAMOUNT JAZZ BAND Easter Parade (voc. Acker Bilk)
CHRIS BARBER & HIS JAZZ BAND Olga
CHRIS BARBER & HIS JAZZ BAND Papa De, Da, Da
ACKER BILK & HIS PARAMOUNT JAZZ BAND Marching Through Georgia
CHRIS BARBER & HIS JAZZ BAND Thriller Rag
CHRIS BARBER & HIS JAZZ BAND When You And I Were Young, Maggie
ACKER BILK & HIS PARAMOUNT JAZZ BAND Travelling Blues
CHRIS BARBER & HIS JAZZ BAND Tishomongo Blues
CHRIS BARBER & HIS JAZZ BAND Sweet Georgia Brown
ACKER BILK & HIS PARAMOUNT JAZZ BAND Delia Gone (voc. Acker Bilk)
CHRIS BARBER & HIS JAZZ BAND Big House Blues
CHRIS BARBER & HIS JAZZ BAND Just A Closer Walk With Thee (voc. Ottilie Patterson)
ACKER BILK & HIS PARAMOUNT JAZZ BAND Gladiolous Rag
CHRIS BARBER & HIS JAZZ BAND Ugly Child
CHRIS BARBER & HIS JAZZ BAND Careless Love (voc. Ottilie Patterson)
ACKER BILK & HIS PARAMOUNT JAZZ BAND Willie The Weeper (voc. Acker Bilk)
CHRIS BARBER & HIS JAZZ BAND All The Girls Go Crazy About The Way I Walk
CHRIS BARBER & HIS JAZZ BAND I Hate A Man Like You (voc. Ottilie Patterson)

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The influence of Ken Colyer extends through the British Jazz Scene in so many ways. Both bandleaders here had Colyer connections, for Acker Bilk was a member of his band for a spell, while the Chris Barber band was formerly Ken Colyer’s Jazzmen. In the latter case, musical differences led to Ken’s departure.

Bilk fans are in for a treat with these early recordings. Quality manifestly balances quantity, with some of his classics included. For me, pride of place goes to Gladiolus Rag – a version that Joplin would have enjoyed. Trumpet man Ken Sims had a hand in an excellent arrangement. The whole collection, though, is truly representative of the sound that filled the airwaves, clubs and theatres during the Trad Boom and includes the Chart Topping Petite Fleur. Although the label credits it to the Barber band, it was a solo feature for clarinetist Monty Sunshine, who still proudly exhibits the Gold Disc in his lounge. The vocal offerings are an interesting contrast, with Acker’s tongue in cheek style alongside the more traditional sound of Ottilie Patterson. In her case, the musical partnership with Chris was to grow into something more personal and permanent – a true showbiz romance.

When audiences liked the sound, they were, in the main, less than knowledgeable of jazz. Having heard the record, they complained that the band wasn’t playing the tune properly – simply the solos on live performances differed from those in the recording studio. This actually led to musicians sitting down and learning their solos, which was soul destroying. All credit here to both bands in that, while they waxed some of the pot-boilers, there is plenty of the better and less-hackneyed material on offer. Acker’s Franklin Street and Barber’s I Hate A Man Like You, Papa De Da Da, the Morton classic Ugly Child and Olga showing their determination to introduce Joe Public to the different musical experiences available to him. Tin Pan Alley also made its contribution to the Trad Fad. The best of the hits of yesteryear were dusted off by Acker, with Easter Parade, and Chris’s feature on Sweet Georgia Brown. This gave a new slant on their old favourites, which were warmly received.