Track Selection: Blues Walk
Lou Donaldson (as) Herman Foster (p) Peck Morrison (b) Dave Bailey (d) Ray Barretto (cga) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, July 28, 1958
Lou Donaldson treads a careful path between the high ground of an alto-sax bebopper and the swamplands of funky “blues and soul”. On the title track Blues Walk he fingers the alto like it was a blues guitar: linear but dexterous riffs, emotional “stuttering” repetition to create tension before release, magnificent elegant tails to the riffs, a tremor of Bechet-like vibrato, all within a classic 12 bar blues framework that swings like hell. Foster’s “barrelhouse” rolling piano comps superbly and his block-chord blues solo catches Donaldson’s mood perfectly, with a mannered climactic piano-stutter so well executed I half expected Screaming Jay Hawkins to leap to the microphone to Put a Spell on You. Magnificent music. The tail end of the 1500 series of Blue Note, in 1958, are a rare pleasure, I just wish I could afford an original, but the King cannot fail to put a smile on your face. Great!
Vinyl: King Record Co, Japan 1983
Japanese pressing under United Artists license of Blue Note BN1593 (mono) 125gm beautiful near-silent vinyl and rich dynamic range thanks to marvelous original recording by Van Gelder. If you can not stretch to an original the Japanese is excellent.
Yes I know it is not a Plastylite Blue Note, but for the record, this is what a King pressing matrix looks like.
It has been a very slow week for action on Ebay. Most of my Ebay bids – good enough to win – were placed second by another bidder paying over the odds. Money always talks loudest, fair enough, but it still leaves a bad taste.
However the cost of the few wins I did make I am convinced had been bumped by “shill bids”. In one case the price was near doubled two hours before close by a “mystery bidder”, three-quarters of whose bids were placed with just this one (French) seller. In the second case, the price was upped by another “mysterious” bidder who likewise had placed twenty bids that month with just the one (American) seller. All amazing coincidences, with all the tens of thousands of sellers, and hundreds of thousands of records, to bid so frequently with just the one seller.
To check my intuition, I went back through both sellers feedback. The “mystery bidder” in each case had never left any feedback for the seller they placed so many bids with. Why leave feedback -” for yourself”? It is too tempting for sellers not to rig auctions if they can get away with it, and Ebay are pretty lax when it comes to addressing shill bidding second accounts.
Ebay can be pants sometimes, so I was delighted to walk into a record shop to find some interesting records free of the Ebay baggage. One of them was this lovely Japanese King pressing of a fabulous Blue Note I am never likely to see or afford as an original, Lou Donaldson’s Blues Walk. Still thirty years old, I count Japanese reissues a highly desirable, King are the best of the bunch, and this one is a peach. It can’t fail because the music is so good.