If This Ain't the Blues

Jimmy Rushing

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If This Ain't the Blues Review

by Ken Dryden

Blues singer Jimmy Rushing put a flurry of classic LPs in the late '50s and early '60s, but the few CD reissues that have appeared have generally been in the form of compilations, rather than straight reissues of original sessions. It's a shame, because this original release -- with all the similar material gathered and a priceless cover photo of Rushing resting on a drink case -- is preferable to having to buy two separate CD anthologies to obtain all eight tracks heard on this album. Rushing is in great form, backed by fellow Count Basie alumni such as trumpeter Emmett Berry, trombonist Vic Dickenson, tenor saxophonist Buddy Tate, and drummer Jo Jones; the other musicians include bassist Aaron Bell, blues guitarist Roy Gaines, pianist Clarence Johnson, and the somewhat superfluous organist Marlowe Morris, who proves to be more of a distraction. The singer even sits out one track, "If This Ain't the Blues," to give his friends a chance to blow. The music, in spite of Morris' out of place electric organ, swings very well throughout the date, especially old favorites like "Dinah" and "Pennies From Heaven." Last reissued in 1982 on LP by King in Japan, it will be hard to locate in this format, but worth the effort.

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