Horace Silver: Finger Poppin’ (1959) Blue Note


Selection 1: Cookin’ at the Continental

Selection 2: Swingin’ the Samba

Selection 3: Juicy Lucy

Selection 4: Finger Poppin’


Blue Mitchell (trumpet) Junior Cook (tenor saxophone) Horace Silver (piano) Gene Taylor (bass) Louis Hayes (drums) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, January 31, 1959


1959Arguably Silver’s finest, classic, uncompromisingly hard bop sortie, I found myself totally unable to decide which track to feature, so I thought, sod it, give ’em four, let them sort it out between themselves.

Personally I have a soft spot for Swinging The Samba, closely followed by Cooking at the Continental, but I noticed that LJC posters had different ideas, with nominations  for other tracks as favourites. Hang the storage limits, give them more, a tribute to Horace: seize the moment, it won’t happen to pass again.

In my opinion, none of the tunes on Finger Poppin’ are especially memorable, but it is more than a simple blowing session. The heads set the mood and tempo, which is where the collaborative power of the Silver Quintet scores so high: everyone knows what is coming, has plenty of space, and uses it well. It is what happened when Blue Note famously funded rehearsal time, where other labels did not: the final product is a more polished performance.

Horace once described his approach to music as “meaningful simplicity”, an insight to be savoured. In a milieu that elevated “complexity” that is not always meaningful, it is a distinction worth retaining.

Vinyl: BN 4008 W63rd labels, (+INC + R) RVG stamp, DG, ears.

Just for a change, this Blue Note has the same W63rd labels on each side, but it’s  +INC and +R both sides, so question over early v.s. later pressing status. Regular follower will understand my indifference – it’s the van Gelder metalwork provenance that counts to the audiophile. There will be no wailing and gnashing of teeth here between 1st or 2nd press.



Collector’s Corner

When I started out collecting jazz around five or so years ago, these Horace records simply turned up once in a while, and you seized the moment. I still see them turning up once in a while, but not as often. I fear these will not be long for this earth. But they are at the more affordable end, and they repay the investment.






7 thoughts on “Horace Silver: Finger Poppin’ (1959) Blue Note

  1. My Finger Poppin is mixed labels: New York and West 63rd but is deep groove both sides. It was the first pre-Liberty pressing I bought. I was knocked over by the sound. I’d suggest that as far as being essential goes, Blowin the Blues Away just shades it over this.

  2. About my BLP-4008: 47 West 63rd NYC on both sides, with “inc” and “R” with RVG and cat.nr. hand etched in the dead wax but without the “ears”, so this unfortunately makes mine a Liberty reissue. Address on back cover is 43West 61st St., New York 23. Also note the way the label on side 1 was pressed; with an extra impression around the spindle hole…

    Anyway, I have uploaded high resolution photos of my copy, you can view them HERE.

    Note: make sure to click ‘slideshow’ for a lovely full screen experience! 😀

  3. Another great selection. My copy also has W63rd labels but one side with R and Inc and the other side without R and Inc. More evidence that label mixing was rife as the frugal Messrs Lion and Wolfe avoided waste as much as possible. I think my favourite track is Swingin’ the Samba – possibly because there’s a certain crispness to Louis Hayes’ drumming. You can see why Cannonball recruited him to partner Sam Jones in his rhythm section.

    • My copy has the same mixed labels as yours. DG and ear on both sides. “INC” and “R” on Side 1 only. No “INC”, and no “R” on Side 2.

  4. You are right about the tracks – hard to choose between, although the title track is a favorite. Great cover too!

  5. A compliment for bringing the HS Blue Notes to attention.The records mean a lot to me,as they mark more or less the start of my passion for record collecting.When the music appeared on record I was still in high-school.In a very short time the music became immensely popular,especially wih us teenagers.At first you could only find the “hits” (Doodlin’,etc.)on 45’s.They were played at party’s and and in jukeboxes.Everybody good wistle them.As I told before the original American pressings were hard to find.There were not many specialised shops for jazz records.The music had a big influence on the Dutch Jazz Scene.The Diamond Five with our “local HS”(Cees Slinger) played the same repertoire and for them the early Messengers were the great inpiration.I always wondered why these records never became “collectable”Thank you for bringing me back to the old times!

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