This is an unusual Harry James reissue in that, after the first four selections (which are from July 31, 1942), the remainder of the disc consists of James' V-discs of 1942-1944. The Musicians Union's recording strike stopped all recording for at least 16 months and, in the case of James' label Columbia, nearly two-and-a-half years. The trumpeter's last studio date of 1942 resulted in the final of three Helen Forrest hits, "I've Heard That Song Before." His wartime band is heard on V-disc versions of such songs as "Two O'Clock Jump"; "Back Beat Boogie"; "Blue Lou"; "Charmaine" (which has particularly inventive writing for the string section); "I'll Walk Alone" (Kitty Kallen's first vocal with the band); and "I'm Beginning to See the Light," the latter cut a month before the commercially released hit version. This formerly rare material is taken from a period when Harry James led the most popular swing band in the world, and it will be of strong interest to swing fans.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow