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Freddie Mitchell Rock'n Roll (LP)

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Rock'n Roll (LP)
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(Official) 16 tracks - Rhythm'n'Blues recorded 1949 to 1957 for Derby, Mercury, Rock'n Roll and... more

Freddie Mitchell: Rock'n Roll (LP)

(Official) 16 tracks - Rhythm'n'Blues recorded 1949 to 1957 for Derby, Mercury, Rock'n Roll and ABC-Paramount!


When waxing lyrical about the tenor saxophone, music critics are prone to refer to the "Texas Tenors" - that mythical band of fiery, south-western sax men. like Arnett Cobb, Buddy Tate, and Illinois Jacquet, who came to fame with the hard-blowing territory outfits - but despite producing a fine tradition of its own with the likes of Willis Jackson, Syl Austin, George Kelly, and Freddie Mitchell, Florida is all but ignored. Freddie Mitchel was born in Orlando and while still only a child he began his professional music career as a blues pianist in nearby Tampa. He moved with his family to New York at the age of 13 and soon after began studying the tenor sax and the clarinet. He had cut his teeth with several obscure combos when he joined the prestigious Benny Carter Orchestra and made his recording debut in January 1941 at Carter's "Babalu" session for Bluebird. Oddly, also in that some month, he became the star sax soloist of Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra when the leader reformed his successful band for a triumphant return to his old stronghold - the Roseland Ballroom, and during the Winter of 1941 seems to have been shared by Carter and Henderson.

Freddie remained with Fletcher's 'Local 802" band for over a year and was present at its last commercial recording session in April 1 941 for Columbia Records, where he can be found soloing on the two instrumental tunes "Pixie From Dixie" and "Let's Go Home", both of which were later issued on V-Discs. According to trombonist Sandy Williams, who was a colleague of Freddie's in the 1941 Henderson band, Mitchell was a superb golfer who once found it necessary to explain his expertise to one aghast red-neck golf course manager. l'm from the South. I used to caddy, but since I've been in New York its learned to play". During late 1941 and early 1942, the Henderson band were resi-dent at Chicago's Grand Terrace Cafe, and a couple of the CBS broad-casts recorded there have circulated amoung collectors, including the Freddie Mitchell showcases 'Panama" and "Sugarfoot Stomp" - the latter of which Freddie rerecorded under his own name nearly a decode later, on Derby 738. In March 1942 the entire 'Local 802" band were fired en masse and Freddie briefly joined Benny Carter again before spending short tenures in the orchestras of Louis Armstrong and Hot Ups Page. He then spent four years with the band led by trumpeter and vocalist Ovie Alston, resident at Roseland, and recorded four sides with his combo in 1946 for Urban. By June 1949, Freddie had formed his own septet and had been signed to Eddie Heller and Larry Newton's new Derby Record label.

 Among the fiedgling New York independant's first signings, Freddie not only became the label's most proficient record star, but also became the Musi-cal Director and house-band leader until pianist Eddie Wilcox joined Derby's rester in late 1951. Freddie stayed with Derby from its inception until 1952 and was responsible for Over 20 releases in his own name, and many more by his pianist Joe Black, by a bevy of female blues-sin-gers like Sarah Dean, Honey Brown, Betty McLaurin, Eunice Davis, and Joyce Davis, and blues-shouters Sammy Cotton and Doc Porous. Freddie had the honour of providing Derby with its very first release. and Derby 711 "Slider" and "The Derby" is included here. Both sides are excellent ROB swingers which, besides the leader, feature the superb Kansas City baritone saxist, Bill Graham, who had played with Lucky Millinder, Erskine Hawkins, Eddie Wilcox, and Dizzy Gillespie prior to joining Mitchell. Like Earl Bostic on King Records, Mitchell often recorded updated arrangements of swing classics like "Jersey Bounce", 'Till Tom Boogie Benny Goodman Sextet's 'Till Tom Special" from 1940 " - with a nice rattling piano solo probably from Art Slms and "Slim" Moore's trom-bone - and Glenn Miller's 'String of Pearls" which features a short bari-tone break probably by Pinky Williams, another Millinder veteran. Unlike Bostic, however, Mitchell also gave the same treatment to the likes of Mendelsohn's 'Wedding March" - it has to be heard to be belie-ved ! Mitchell recording many original compositions, like "Fish Market Boogie" and I Got Your Boogie" - the latter 0 tremendous blues-shouter from Sarah Dean - and a Is that were not so original, like "Hot Ice" which is a rip-roarer based on Illinois Jacquet's famous solo from "flying Home'', similar to Jacquet's own Victor recording "Hot Rod". Freddie was not averse to penning the odd back-scratcher either ; "Moondog Boogie", a tribute to Alan Freed, will be recognised by many as an early incarnation of the Freed band's "Rock'N'Roll Boogie".

Derby released a 10" Freddie Mitchell LP on its Rainbow subsidiary in the early fifties, while later microgroove issues included a 12" RCA album on the "X" label and four tracks on the budget Halso label, both of whom had snap-ped up Mitchell's Derby masters at a giveaway price when the label filed bankruptcy papers in October 1954. Leaving Derby in 1952, Freddie joined Mercury where he cut the beautiful latin - influenced "Delicado" and 'Later Gater", the latter notable for Frank Hollins' muted trumpet and the short vocal by Freddie and the boys. The following year saw two sessions for Gem Records with Joan Shaw, and a further two for Brunswick. Coral responsible for the fantastic I'm Goin' Home" written by Freddie and Pinky Williams. In 1955 Freddie had one single released on the aptly named Rock'n'Roll label with "3 Strikes You're Out" and "Preachin''', the latter being the best of the two, written by fellow Floridan Gigi Gryce. During the mid fifties, disc jockey Alan Freed formed an 18 piece ROB-cum-ROB band composed, faultlessly, of the cream of ROB session musicians. The sax section included Heywood Henry, San., ''The Man" Taylor, Big Al Sears, and of course, Freddie Mitchell ; and in the 1 956 film 'Rock Rock Rock", Freddie is featured blowing a scorching version of his own "Moondog Boogie", now rechristened "Rock'n'Roll Boogie".

From 1956 to 1961, Freddie was under contract to ABC Paramount, but those six years resulted in only four releases and indeed a couple of these are either rereleased Derby masters or new versions of his former successes "Easter Parade", "Hot Ice" and "Freddie's New' Calypso", the latter another surprisingly good latin-styled workout with lots of percus-sion and a fine piano solo. Like many of his contemporaries, Mitchell must have found the six-ties quite a let-down after his continous employment through the forties and fifties. The majority of his old comrades had mothballed their axes and taken day jobs to support their families, and Freddy was no excep-tion. The man who had led a topnotch band of veterans for nearly fifteen years, even taking them on a European tour in the fall of 1953, laid his horn down and became a taxicab driver in his beloved New York, gigging only occaisionally as, what else, 'Taxi" Mitchell. DAVE PENNY - JUNE 1988.
Mitchell, Freddie - Rock'n Roll (LP) 1
01 Jersey Bounce
02 Fish Market Boogie
03 Till Tom Boogie
04 Slider
05 I Got Your Boogie
06 The Derby
07 Wedding March
08 String Of Pearls
09 Hot Ice
10 Moon Dog Boogie
11 Delicado
12 Later Gator
13 I'm Goin' Home
14 Preachin'
15 3 Strikes You're Out
16 Freddie's New Calypso
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Tracklist
Mitchell, Freddie - Rock'n Roll (LP) 1
01 Jersey Bounce
02 Fish Market Boogie
03 Till Tom Boogie
04 Slider
05 I Got Your Boogie
06 The Derby
07 Wedding March
08 String Of Pearls
09 Hot Ice
10 Moon Dog Boogie
11 Delicado
12 Later Gator
13 I'm Goin' Home
14 Preachin'
15 3 Strikes You're Out
16 Freddie's New Calypso