Genres: Female Blues vocal, Female Jazz, Swing.
Informative booklet notes by Chris Smith.
From this CDs booklet notes.
It will be evident from the track listing and discography that this CD consists of ‘Albinia Jones plus the war effort.’ The other singers are more famous than Albinia, but that doesn’t mean she’s outclassed. Even so, ‘Song Of The Wanderer’ is testimony to the collective ability of HELEN HUMES, Count Basie and his sidemen to work their magic with the most unpromising material. ‘St. Louis Blues’ is a better bet, the only danger being over- familiarity. Helen’s airshot, sung ‘for the boys overseas’ is evidently a wartime performance, and is accompanied by a starry lineup, but the riffing (head?) arrangement seems curiously unfocused, and perhaps doesn’t give the band enough to do. There’s no doubt about Humes’ enthusiasm for the song, though. Equally seized by the possibilities of W.C. Handy’s classic-and/or by the jivey additional lyrics-is ETHEL WATERS, teamed with Duke Ellington’s orchestra for a War Department Jubilee transcription disc from October 1942. Both Waters and the band find rather fewer possibilities in ‘Stormy Weather’, unfortunately. ROSETTA THARPE and Lucky Millinder’s big band really heat things up on another War Department Jubilee disc, while BETTY ROCHE cools them down again on a V-Disc. Roche, who died in 1999, is perhaps most famous for vocalising the ‘Blues’ section of ‘Black, Brown And Beige’, and the version of ‘Take The “A” Train’ in the movie ‘Reveille With Beverly’. Duke considered that she had ‘a soul inflection in a bop state of intrigue. Many of the phrases she came up with, along with the words she added, would have been considered good as instrumental licks. She was thirty years ahead of her time.’ Well, perhaps slightly less than that on “Trouble Trouble’, but she goes down some interesting byways, in a thoroughgoing exploration of the song and its moods.