With the exception of the opening number (which is from 1935) and one song apiece from 1940 (the two-sided hit "No Name Jive") and 1941, the music on this collection dates from 1937-1939. A dozen of the selections are Hoagy Carmichael compositions and two apiece feature Louis Armstrong (who interacts vocally with Pee Wee Hunt on "Rockin' Chair" and "Lazybones"), the Merry Macs, and Carmichael himself ("Washboard Blues" and "Little Old Lady"). While none of those renditions are definitive, they are enjoyable to hear. In addition, there are some swinging obscurities along with hit versions of "Smoke Rings" and "Casa Loma Stomp," both of which are remakes. The Casa Loma Orchestra lost some of its musical personality by 1937 but was still a very popular swing band. This Hep CD, along with the label's three other Casa Loma releases, does a fine job of summing up the legacy of this underrated but pioneering swing orchestra.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow