Sunday, 4 October 2009

“Nellie Lutcher And Her Rhythm” by NELLIE LUTCHER and HER RHYTHM. A Review of the 1996 Bear Family 4CD Box Set.



“…The Lights Are Low And The Coast Is Clear…So What Are We Doing With Dominoes Here…”

One of 15 children, Nellie Lutcher was born in 1912 in Lake Charles, Louisiana and died at the age of 95 in 2007 in Los Angeles, California – having lived long enough to see this wonderful 1996 box set by Bear Family of Germany properly celebrate her musical heritage.

BCD 15910 D1 contains 4 CDs housed in a 12” x 12” colour box set with 105 tracks culled from the vaults of Capitol, Epic/Okeh, Liberty, Decca, Imperial and Melic (20 are previously unreleased).

I’ve posted a full discography beneath this review which references all 85 of the released tracks (78s/45s/LPs); the info following this details the 20 previously unreleased stuff outside of that discography...

Disc 1, 24 Tracks, 1947 to 1951 (68:13 minutes)
There are no previously unreleased tracks

Disc 2, 26 Tracks, 1948 to 1950 (71:05 minutes)
The following seven are previously unreleased - “With A Song” (1), “Life Is Like That” (3), “My Man (Mon Homme)” (6), “I Used To Be Dull” (7), “The Dog Fight Song” (8), “Darktown Strutter’s Ball” (20) and “”April In Paris” (23)

Disc 3, 25 Tracks, 1950 to 1954 (66:47 minutes)
The following five are previously unreleased - “Baby, What’s You Alibi” (2), “(I Need) Body And Fender Work” (8), “He Couldn’t Care Less” (9), “If You Wanna Get T’Goin’ (And Come Out Singin’)” (10) and “”When They Ask About You”

Disc 4, 30 Tracks, 1954 to 1963 (77:14 minutes)
The following eight are previously unreleased – “Out Of This World” (1), “It’s Been Said” (2), “Let Me Tell You ‘Bout The Guy” (22), “If Your Face Was As Beautiful As Your Soul”(23, “He’s A Real Gone Guy” [Re-recording of the 1947 hit] (24), “There’s A Reason” (25), “Let me tell You ‘Bout The Guy (Overdub)” (29) and “If Your Face Was As Beautiful As Your Soul (Overdub)” (30)

The 36-page album-sized booklet has a history of the lady’s life and music by noted writer BILL MILLAR of England (she was a smash in the UK – packing out theatres in late 1950), newspaper clippings, Juke Box chart listings, black & white studio photos, trade adverts, a section on her fantastically tight backing band BILLY HADNOTT, ULYSSES LIVINGSTONE and LEE YOUNG – all topped off with a very detailed RICHARD WEISZ Sessions Discography stretching from 1947 to 1963. The individual CDs have the same picture on the back and front (a bit boring actually), but other than that this is the usual high-class product that has made Bear Family beloved by collectors and music fans the world over.

Stylistically, Nellie would scat along with the notes as she played her piano (a noted style of hers), so at times she often sounded like a female Nat King Cole in his early Jazz years (she dueted with him on two great sides in early 1950). And while her combo was clearly Jazz orientated, there was also a delicious touch of Louis Jordan swing to her music and lyrics. Her tunes (many self-written) were great fun and saucy with wittily mischievous words – (the title of this review is from “Pa’s Not Home – Ma’s Upstairs”). The quietly contained quartet also kept her vocals and personality to the fore – which allowed you to ‘hear’ her. Admittedly, some of the bigger band stuff on Disc 3 is too heavy-handed for my taste, but there’s still so more on there to keep you listening…and the unreleased stuff is of a very high standard indeed…

If you wanted to get a lay of the land, try the single Capitol CD from 2000 “Real Gone Gal”– if that grabs you, you’ll want to go deeper and this box is where to go. It’s not cheap, but then real class and quality always costs.

Nellie Lutcher is up there right now in the Celestial Spheres with LaVern Baker, Nat King Cole and Ma Rainey rehearsing for a date in the “Heavenly Inn Bar And Grill” - word is spreading among the angels who are excitedly queuing up for tickets at ‘The Garden Of Eden’ box office - and God ‘herself’ is rumoured to put in a show at the gig (disguised of course as Ella Fitzgerald)…

God bless you wherever you are Nellie Lutcher - you beautiful woman – and big time kudos to those at Bear Family for keeping her flame alive in this superb box set.

*** USA DISCOGRAPHY *** NELLIE LUTCHER and HER RHYTHM ***

USA Discography with reference to the track placing on the Bear Family Box set – this discography locates all 85 tracks issued during her career (the 20 previously unreleased tracks on the box set are documented in the review itself)

- 78’s and 45’s –

1. Hurry On Down [2/1] b/w The Lady’s In Love With You [3/1]
June 1947 USA 78” on Capitol Americana 40002

2. He’s A Real Gone Guy [7/1] b/w Let Me Love You Tonight [8/1]
July 1947 USA 78” on Capitol Americana 40017

3. You Better Watch Yourself, Bub [4/1] b/w My Mother’s Eyes [6/1]
September 1947 USA 78” on Capitol Americana 40042

4. Do You Or Don’t You Love [10/1] b/w The Song Is Ended (But The Melody Lingers On) [18/1]
January 1948 USA 78” On Capitol Americana 40063

5. Fine Brown Frame [21/1] b/w The Pig-Latin Song [9/1]
March 1948 USA 78” on Capitol 15032

6. Come And Get It, Honey [17/2] b/w He Sends Me [14/2]
May 1948 USA 78” on Capitol 15064

7. Imagine You Having Eyes For Me [23/1] b/w (I Took A Trip On The Train And) I Thought About You [15/1]
June 1948 USA 78” on Capitol 15112

8. Cool Water [11/2] b/w Lake Charles Boogie [20/1]
July 1948 USA 78” on Capitol 15148

9. Alexander’s Ragtime Band [24/1] b/w My Little Boy [15/2]
September 1948 USA 78” on Capitol 15180

10. Wish I Was In Walla Walla [2/2] b/w A Maid’s Prayer [4/2]
December 1948 USA 78” on Capitol 15279

11. My New Papa’s Got To Have Everything [16/2] b/w Say A Little Prayer For Me [10/1]
January 1949 USA 78” on Capitol 15352

12. A Chicken Ain’t Nothin But A Bird [12/2] b/w Ditto From Me To You [5/2]
March 1949 USA 78” on Capitol 57-70001

13. Baby, Please Stop And Think About Me [26/2] b/w Kiss Me Sweet [25/2]
August 1949 USA 78” on Capitol 57-70009

14. Princess Poo-Poo-Ly Has Plenty Papaya [13/2] b/w Fine And Mellow Blues [13/1]
August 1949 USA 78” on Capitol 57-70026

15. Glad Rag Doll [22/2] b/w Lutcher’s Leap [9/2]
November 1949 USA 78” on Capitol 57-70044

16. Only You [24/2] b/w Little Sally Walker [18/2]
January 1950 USA 7” single on Capitol F 798

17. For You My Love [4/3] b/w Can I Come In For A Second [5/3]
February 1950 7” single on Capitol F 847
[A&B with NAT KING COLE - A-side written by PAUL GAYTEN]

18. That’s A Plenty [1/3] b/w I’ll Never Get Tired [3/3]
1950 USA 7” single on Capitol F 878

19. Loveable [12/1] b/w Kinda Blue & Low [16/1]
1950 USA 7” single on Capitol F 1026

20. To Be Forgotten [19/2] b/w That Will Just About Knock Me Out [21/2]
1950 USA 7” single on Capitol F 1217

21. I Really Couldn’t Love You [7/3] b/w Pa’s Not Home – Ma’s Upstairs [6/3]
May 1951 USA 78” single on Capitol F 1420

22. Hurry On Down b/w Fine Brown Frame
1951 USA 7” single on Capitol F 1604 [REISSUE of her 1947 Classics]

23. The Song Is Ended (But The Melody Lingers On) [18/1] b/w Humoresque (Opus No.7) [22/1]
1951 USA 7” single on Capitol F 1728

24. The Birth Of The Blues [13/3] b/w I Want To Be Near You [12/3]
1951 USA 7” single on Capitol F 1789

25. What A Difference A Day Made [15/3] b/w The Heart Of A Clown [17/3]
February 1952 USA 7” single on Capitol F 1978

26. Mean To Me [11/3] b/w Let The Worry Bird Worry For You [14/3]
1952 USA 7” single on Capitol F 1829
[Note: A-side with Orchestra Conducted by BILLY MAY]

27. That’s How It Goes [16/3] b/w Keepin’ Out Of Mischief Now [18/3]
1952 USA 7” single on Capitol F 2038

28. The Heart Of A Clown [17/3] b/w My Mother’s Eyes [6/1]
1952 USA 7” single on Capitol 4319
(Note: B-side is the 1947 original)

29. Muchly Verily [23/3] b/w How Many More [20/3]
January 1953 USA 78” single on Okeh 6935
[A-side by NELLIE LUTCHER; B-side by BOUDLEAUX BRYANT]

30. St. Louis Blues [24/3] b/w Takin’ A Chance On Love [23/3]
1953 USA 7” single on Okeh 7030

31. Whee Baby [22/3] b/w Blues For Bill Bailey (aka Bill Bailey Won’t You Please Come Home) [25/3]
1953 USA 7” single on Epic 9005

32. Blues In The Night [3/4] b/w Breezin’ Along With The Breeze [4/4]
1954 USA 7” single on Decca 9-29284

33. Please Come Back [7/4] b/w It’s Been Said [5/4]
1955 USA 7” single on Decca 9-29494

34. If I Didn’t Love Like I Do [8/4] b/w Whose Honey Are You? [6/4]
1955 USA 7” single on Decca 9-29642

35. Blue Skies [9/4] b/w You Made Me Love You [11/4]
February 1956 USA 7” single on Liberty 55018

36. (All Of A Sudden) My Heart Sings [17/4] b/w Have You Ever Been Lonely [20/4]
1956 USA 7” single on Liberty 55027

37. Hurry On Down [21/4] b/w I Never Get Tired [26/4]
1957 USA 7” single on Imperial 5436
(Note: the A-side is a Re-recording of her 1947 hit on Capitol)

38. Heart Of A Clown [27/4] b/w Reaching For The Moon [28/4]
1963 USA 7” single on Melic 4131

- LPs -

“Nellie Lutcher” – Nellie Lutcher and Her Rhythm
3 x 78” LP Package issued March 1948 as an ‘Album” on Capitol CC-70 (Mono)
(The individual catalogue numbers for each 78” follow the A and B sides listed below)
1. The One I Love (Belongs To Somebody Else) [1/1] b/w Chi-Chi-Chi-Chicago [11/1]
(Capitol 10108)
2. Reaching For The Moon [17/1] b/w There’s Another Mule In Your Stall [14/1]
(Capitol 10109)
3. Sleepy Lagoon [5/1] b/w Lake Charles Boogie [20/1]
(Capitol 10110)

“Real Gone!”
1950 USA 8-Track 10” LP on Capitol H-232 (Mono)
Side 1:
He’s A Real Gone Guy [7/1]; Fine Brown Frame [21/1]; Hurry On Down [2/1]; Come And Get It, Honey [17/2]
Side 2: Do You Or Don’t You Love Me 10/1]; Let Me Love You Tonight [8/1]; The Lady’s In Love With You [3/1]; My Mother’s Eyes [6/1]

(Note: the 10” LP listed above was then extended to a 12” LP in 1955 adding 4 extra tracks (denoted as **) and issued on Capitol T 232 – see next entry)

“Real Gone!”
1955 USA 12-Track 12” LP on Capitol T-232 (Mono) [Differing Artwork to the 10” LP]
Side 1:
He’s A Real Gone Guy [7/1]; Fine Brown Frame [21/1]; Hurry On Down [2/1]; Do You Or Don’t You Love Me [10/1]; Let Me Love You Tonight [8/1] The Lady’s In Love With You [3/1]
Side 2:
So Nice To See You Baby ** [19/1]; That’s A Plenty ** [3/1]; My Little Boy ** [15/2]; Alexander’s Ragtime Band ** [24/1]; Come And Get It, Honey [17/2]; My Mother’s Eyes [6/1]

“Whee! Nellie!”
1955 USA 6-Track 10” LP on Epic LN 1108 (Mono)
Side 1:
Whee, Baby! [22/3]; Taking A Chance On Love [23/3/]; Muchly Verily [23/3]
Side 2:
St. Louis Blues [24/3]; How Many More [20/3]; Blues For Bill Bailey [aka Bill Bailey Won’t You Please Come Home] [25/3]

“Our New Nellie” [with Russ Garcia and His Orchestra]
1956 USA 12-Track 12” LP on Liberty LRP 3104 (Mono)
Side 1:
Have You Ever Been Lonely [20/4]; You Made Me Love You [11/4]; (All Of A Sudden) My Heart Sings [17/4]; Someone To Watch Over Me [16/4]; This Can't Be Love [12/4]; Blue Skies [9/4]
Side 2:
Rose Colored Glasses [18/4]; It Had To Be You [14/4]; The Nearness Of You [13/4]; On The Sunny Side Of The Street [15/4]; Ole Buttermilk Sky [19/4]; Three Little Words [10/4]

“Delightfully Yours”
1966 USA 10-track 12” LP on Sunset SUM-1124 [Mono]/SUS-5124 [Stereo]
Side 1: (All Of A Sudden) My Heart Sings [17/4]; The Nearness Of You [13/4]; Have You Ever Been Lonely [20/4]; On The Sunny Side Of The Street [15/4]; You Made Me Love You [11/4]
Side 2:
Rose Colored Glasses [18/4]; This Can’t Be Love [12/4]; Someone To Watch Over Me [16/4]; Blue Skies [9/4]; Three Little Words [10/4]

[The 10-tracks used on “Delightfully Yours” are culled from the “Our New Nellie” album sessions which were only ever recorded in MONO – however, as you can see above, this Sunset LP was issued in both MONO and STEREO – the Bear Family box doesn’t reference EITHER - probably because this was false re-channelled stereo and the MONO tracks are already referenced on the Liberty LRP 3104 LP]

“The Best Of”
1995 USA Capitol Compilation on CD – Capitol CDP 7243 8 35039
(Track 15 and 22 are referenced on the Box set because they were previously unreleased at the time)
1. Hurry On Down
2. One I Love (Belongs To Somebody Else)
3. You Better Watch Yourself, Bub
5. My Mother's Eyes
6. He's A Real Gone Guy
7. Let Me Love You Tonight
8. Chi Chi Chi Chicago
9. Fine And Mellow
10. I Thought About You
11. Kinda Blue And Low
12. The Song Is Ended (But The Melody Lingers On)
13. Lake Charles Boogie
14. Fine Brown Frame
15. My Man (Mon Homme) [6/2]
16. Chicken Ain't Nothin' But A Bird
17. He Sends Me
18. My New Papa's Got To Have Everything
19. Come And Get It
20. Honey Honey
21. That Will Just About Knock Me Out Baby
22. Baby What's Your Alibi [2/3]
23. Pa's Not Home

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