Track Selection: “Fables of Faubus”
Jimmy Knepper or Willie Dennis (tb) John Handy (as, cl) Booker Ervin (ts) Curtis Porter (ts, as) Horace Parlan (p) Charles Mingus (b) Dannie Richmond (d) recorded NYC, May 5 & 12 1959
One reviewer describes “Ah Um” thus: “This Record Is Absolutely Freakin’ Amazing In Every Single Way I Can Think Of, and it’s never ever bored me, not even once.” I think he likes it.
Vinyl: BBL7352 UK first pressing (1959) on Philips black labels of Columbia CS 8171
Superb cover which went on to see many changes with later reissues. Despite their well deserved reputation for pressing on behalf of other labels, Philips early microgroove pressings are a disappointment. Thinnish vinyl and a lack of dynamic range compared with contemporary releases by London Atlantic, RCA, HMV and Decca. Other records from Philips own label at this time all have the same character.
Increasing the volume 20% gives a very acceptable sound, with good midrange punch, just lacking in top-end brightness and presence. However it’s mono and many later reissues go stereo. Nice to have an original, even if it challenges the old adage that “original is best”.