A direct reissue of Miss Annabelle Lee, one of two California Ramblers LPs released by Biograph in the 1970s, New York Jazz in the Roaring Twenties, Vol.2. appeared on CD in 1999 and again in 2007 with packaging that suggests an appendix to the careers of Red Nichols and the Dorsey Brothers, even if the real hero of this band was usually Adrian Rollini. Like its companion vinyl collection Hallelujah this modestly proportioned stash of one-dozen vintage hot dance band recordings just happens to contain some of the Ramblers' best offerings, dating in this case from the years 1925-1927. In addition to giddy Ivy League and prohibition-era favorites like "Charleston," "Collegiate," "Crazy Words, Crazy Tune," "Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue," and the jocular "Clap Hands," Here Comes Charlie" (which contains a plug for White Rock ginger ale), the playlist is fortified with such jazzy entries as "Keep Smiling at Trouble," "State and Madison," Jack Pettis' "Stockholm Stomp," and what must have been one of the very first recordings ever made of Rodgers & Hart's "Manhattan." The original liner notes compare Rollini's bass-sax intro to "Clap Hands" with the sound of "a grizzly bear crooning to its young." Whereas Timeless and Sounds of Yesteryear have each succeeded in bringing before the public a good selection of titles by the California Ramblers, volumes two and three of New York Jazz in the Roaring Twenties on Biograph/Collectables are emphatically recommended as perhaps the best choice of all, even if the 24 tracks would have fit neatly onto one disc instead of two.
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AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf