Paul Gonsalves “Tell it the way it is” (1963)



Track Selection: Body and Soul


Rolf Ericson (tp) Ray Nance (tp, violin) Johnny Hodges (as) Paul Gonsalves (ts) Walter Bishop Jr. (p) Ernie Shepard (b) Osie Johnson (d) recorded NYC, September 4, 1963


Paul Gonsalves was a name I recognised but knew little of – this was my first record of his. A stalwart of the Ellington band, he has an unusual tenor voice, sounding a little off-key at times, though not necessarily in a bad way once you get accustomed to his accent. His phrasing is likewise unusual , a lot of historical bases covered, sound owing a little to Webster and Hawkins, style to Dexter, but he still seems to manage to sound an original voice.

His most  sought after and expensive record was his previous title Boom Jackie Boom Chick , of which only 500 copies were ever pressed, on the British label Vocalion. 500 seems the benchmark for super rare, in the order of magnitude of Mobley 1568.That averages $500 and maxes at $2,000

Too rich for you? A little less  expensive is Gonsalves with Tubby Hayes “Just Friends”, which comes highly recommended but not by my bank manager. Popsike indicates an average price of around $300 and a max of $800, and even a VG minus fetched over £50. Seems Gonsalves is the man collectors drool over. And these covers are vastly better than mine.

Tell it the Way it Is is not at all rare.  He has surrounded himself with other members of the Ellington band, and the warm-toned ballad “Body and Soul” plays to his strengths.

Vinyl: HMV CLP 1758 UK release of Impulse A55, mono

EMI Hayes for HMV label (“small nipper”) Reliable, quality pressing.


Impulse-derived matrix code


Collectors Corner

Simple cash over the counter, no great story, just an interesting record. Now, about that Boom Jackie Boom Chick…..

11 thoughts on “Paul Gonsalves “Tell it the way it is” (1963)

  1. This LP is a fun session and got me going on my quest for original Impulse pressings! Managed to snag a white label promo copy of this LP for $15 – sounds amazing with a mono cart!

    • A White label promo for $15? You really know how to hit the envy button! Luckily I don’t suffer from envy, I just rejoice in the good fortune of other collectors. Or I try to. Just it doesn’t always work. I think I am going green. The Incredible Hulk Collector is angry…

    • When I was much younger my fingers mostly did as they were told. Nowadays the first draft is just a string of typos with the occasional word among them. I am one of lifes “approximators”- approximate is good enough. The sense is what matters rather than the spelling. I read a lot of stuff in the MSM which is spelled right, but thought wrong.

      The Hayes/Gonsalves does indeed turn up regularely. Regularly, even. A quick Popsike caused me to add to the story above. Ouch, its expensive! I might just look for the CD until an affordable vinyl copy shows up. Could be a long wait though.

  2. Aha! I have this one, too! Mine is an Impulse, stereo, A-55. Comes with “Van Gelder” and “stereo” in the trail off. BUT, and that is a heavy but, mine is a later pressing from 1972… You can check out the photos HERE.

    And I have to agree with Katharsis: Gettin’ Together is a superb album. I have it on CD though 😉

  3. “Boom Jackie Boom Chick”. In my wildest dreams I am dreaming of finding this record in a dusty bargain bin. But I’ll doubt, that this will ever happen. The music itself is absolutely fantastic. Kenny Napper is a great, great bassist and the almost tenor-duel, Gonsalves has with Sharpe on the title cut is off the hook.
    For vinyl collectors this is a highly collectable record, for others this is a hidden gem.
    “Tell it the way it is” is a good, but not really exceptional album, in my opinion. It’s funny to hear the bassist sing and Walter Bishop is a welcome addition, but I can’t stand Nance’s violin, so I have to skip at least one track. My other favourite Gonsalve LP would be “Gettin’ together”.

    • The subject of Boom Chick came up in conversation in a London shop. The dealer actually has a copy stashed in the back. He told me what its worth and that he will have to put it up on eBay as no one walking into a shop is going to pay thousands of pounds for a record. Having watched a Youtube of it I must agree it sounds pretty good.

  4. This Body and Soul version is one of my favorite. And Paul Gonsalves in my opinion is an underrated tenor. He’s also the subject of one of my (very few) insanely lucky shot as a collector.
    In Italy is kind of impossible to find anything nearly decent in any used records store or street market… A couple of years ago I found in the “classic music” box of a street seller an original mint mono copy of “Just Friends” (Paul Gonsalves and Tubby Hayes) for 5 euros, price that clearly suggest seller ignorance about that record.

    But the most important thing is “FINALLY I CAN TELL THIS STORY TO SOMEONE!!!!!!” 😉

    By the way, stories like this are weird here because of three basic reasons:
    1: Italian street sellers use to resell collection they find in basements and most of basements here are full of sh…t!!!
    2: those who have something good, they reserve it for annual fairs, pricing records as I’m wearing a shirt with a writing on it: “Hey man, this is your lucky day! I’m going to pay your mortgage and vacations just for this record!!!”
    3: Italian sellers are far from knowing what “vynil care” means…. (sun, rain, in the box, out of the box, on the van….”hey, let’s try frying eggs on this one…by the way, what the hell of a name Teloniusss is?! Ah..ah….ah”)

    Don’t worry anyway, a shot like the “Jsut Friends” one happened just twice in my collector history so there’s no reason to hate me! (I’ll keep the other story for another occasion…..)

    Good night!

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