THE COUNTRY ALL-STARS String Dustin' Marie / In A Little Spanish Town / When It's Darkness On The Delta / Sweet Georgie Brown / The Lady In Red / Stompin' At The Savoy / Midnight Train / Indiana March / Bonus tracks: Song Of The Wanderer (Where Shall I Go) / Do
respectively. Bass duties were split between Ernie Newton and Charles Grean. The album was produced by Steve Sholes over three 1952 sessions at the Brown Radio Productions studio in Nashville and a couple of sessions the follow-ing year in RCA Victor Studio 2 in New York. The first thing to say is, this is not a country album.
It's pop and jazz with covers from Irving Berlin to Benny Goodman, and it was no doubt because of this that RCA did little to promote the album on its release, which has therefore resulted in its rarity. No one will be surprised by Chet's ability to play in this swinging jazz style, but fans of the cornball duo Homer & Jethro might find it harder to comprehend. Interviewed in later life, Chet himself was critical of his own playing, but he sounds pretty good to me. I can't honestly sit here and say that I'm a big fan of the album and it won't get much in the way of repeat plays, but you can only admire the intricate musicianship on offer. The more broadminded amongst you and, no doubt, musicians, will find lots to enjoy here.
Laid back and almost like front-porch picking if the house was the Prague Opera House, the playing is delicate, crisp and at times inspiring. If this ten-track reissue is your bag, Bear Family brought out a CD in the early '90s with additional tracks, appropriately called 'Jazz From The Hills'. EMMA & THE RAGMEN Headin' Out Country / Mr. Jones / I'm Ready Rampage RR-19-20 The back catalogue of Rampage Records includes releases by Mons Wheeler and Keith Turner plus an album by Emma & The Ragmen back in 2017. This new release features two originals and a cover and all three tracks are hard-hitting numbers. The top side is a growling rocker with great stinging guitar, excellent vocals from Emma and a catchy chorus. 'Mr Jones' is a meaty instrumental with strong guitar and drums.
The storming cover of Fats' I'm Ready' has the addition of a sax, presumably Kenny Tomlinson, but the basic packaging has no session details. The vocals are solid and with two hot sax and guitar solos it's another winner. This is a cracking single that is easy to recommend.