Bill Gaither

Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 4

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Volume four in Document's five-fold set of Bill Gaither's complete recorded works contains his last 23 Decca recordings which date from September and October of 1939. Having cut his only records without Indianapolis pianist Honey Hill in New York City (where an alto saxophonist also sat in on one date), Gaither returned to Chicago where he and Hill joined forces with a string bassist and ground out a definitive series of Midwestern blues with poignant lyrics that are typical of Gaither's psychological profile. All of his emotional elements are in evidence here: embittered cynicism, moody self-absorption, and self-pity exacerbated by his disappointing relationships with women. The cornerstone of this unhappy obsession appears to have been an abruptly terminated affair with a certain Rose Lee, who met him and left him in Louisville in 1934, then rejoined him there six years later and lived with him until he was conscripted into the army in 1942. Some of these songs were written by Honey Hill, a solid pianist who was Gaither's right-hand man. These are Hill's last known recordings. Gaither's story is played out in the fifth and final volume of his complete works as reissued by Document in the '90s.

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