This collection seems to base its sense of purpose on commemorating Louis Armstrong's birthday. That's a questionable and rather trivial proposition, to be quite frank, but whatever -- it's a fine collection all the same. It's not really adding anything to the already massive glut of Armstrong albums out there, but it's not necessarily unwelcome either. You get most of Armstrong's better-known compositions, such as "What a Wonderful World" and "Blueberry Hill." The performances are taken from live tapes, and the sound quality isn't always as pristine as you'd perhaps like. Still, it's Armstrong, and you can't really say too many bad things about that. His songs are classic; he's classic. And no matter how trivial the album, it's still a pleasant listen, as most Armstrong records are, even if this is one of the least essential ones out there. So, in sum, there's really no reason to bother with this given the vast assortment of better choices out there, unless you're a fanatical completist or unless this simply gets handed to you for no cost or effort.
Happy Birthday Louis Review
by Jason Birchmeier