Alberta Hunter

Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 3 (1924-27)

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Volume three in the "complete" early works of Alberta Hunter as reissued in the 1990s by Document covers a timeline from November 1924 to February 1927, a period that could be called her post-Paramount, post-Fletcher Henderson rise to prominence. The collection opens with five titles cut for the Gennett label under the name of Josephine Beatty. Here she is backed by a group billed as the Red Onion Jazz Babies, with a collective lineup of cornetist Louis Armstrong, soprano saxophonist Sidney Bechet, trombonists Charlie Irvis andAaron Thompson; clarinetist Buster Bailey, banjoist Buddy Christian, and pianist Lil Hardin Armstrong. The man heard singing a highly charged duet with Hunter/Beatty on "Cake Walking Babies from Home" was New Orleans-born Clarence Todd, composer of pleasantries like "Looka There, Ain't She Pretty?" and "I'm Goin' to See My Ma." With "Your Jelly Roll is Good" and "Take That Thing Away," Hunter crossed over to Okeh with backing by pianist Perry Bradford & His Mean Four, a gutsy little group believed to consist of cornetist Bubber Miley, trombonist Big Charlie Green, and reedman Don Redman. Following a spate of lesser-known recordings involving the aforementioned Clarence Williams, an unidentified trio and a band drawn from Jimmy Wade's Orchestra, this excellent album closes with four titles recorded in early 1927 with pianist Mike Jackson. Despite Document's claim of completeness, two important titles are missing from this volume: "If You Can't Hold the Man You Love (Don't Cry When He's Gone)" which was the flipside of "You For Me, Me For You," and "I Didn't Come to Steal Nobody's Man" which should have appeared between "Wasn't It Nice?" and "Everybody Mess Around."

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