Clarence Williams (1893-1965) was an uncommonly resourceful African-American businessman whose tireless efforts as composer, publisher, producer, pianist, accompanist, and bandleader had a profound effect upon the development of jazz and blues during the 1920s and ‘30s. The Timeless label's second volume devoted to Williams as a leader concentrates upon his last great period of productivity: 1934-1937. It is designed for people with an insatiable appetite for old-style jazz, as not everyone wants 13 alternate takes woven throughout a double-CD set loaded with 47 tracks. Despite the date given on the album cover, the chronology covered herein begins near the end of June 1934 with a session involving Clarence Williams' Washboard Band. The scrub board and drum kit percussionist on more than half of the sessions in this collection is from St. Louis-born Floyd Casey. On some of the recordings midway through the second disc, he is replaced by washboard virtuosi Willie Williams or Bruce Johnson, cardinal member of the Washboard Rhythm Kings. Other mainstays of the Clarence Williams stable of talent were cornetist Ed Allen and clarinetist Cecil Scott. Vocals are attributed to the ubiquitous ‘30s pop singer Chick Bullock, William Cooley, and Williams' wife Eva Taylor. Guest instrumentalists worth listening for are pianists James P. Johnson and Willie "The Lion" Smith, as well as trombonists Wilbur DeParis and Dicky Wells. Reed players include Buster Bailey, Prince Robinson. and alto saxophonist Louis Jordan, who made some of his first records with Williams in 1934. Some of these, including Jordan's vocal on "I Can't Dance I Got Ants in My Pants", may be found on Vol. 1 of the selected recordings of Clarence Williams on Timeless.
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AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2