The vintage music on this first of two CDs put out in 1996 by Yazoo is consistently enjoyable and heated. Unfortunately, the rather random selection of 23 selections by 23 bands, although full of hot obscurities, does not include complete sessions, is not programmed in chronological order, and (most inexcusably) does not give the personnel or exact dates. So what should have been an essential acquisition ends up being a worthwhile sampler that will force serious collectors to consult their discographies. But musically, there are quite a few memorable moments. Included on this CD are one selection apiece by Louis Dumaine's Jazzola Eight, Roy Johnson's Happy Pals, Mamie Smith, Sam Morgan, the Pickett-Parham Apollo Syncopators, Paul Tremaine's Aristocrats (the classic "Four-Four Rhythm"), Charlie Johnson, Bennie Moten, the Ross De Luxe Syncopators, Frenchy's String Band, Taylor's Dixie Serenaders, Jelly Roll Morton, Ben Tobier's California Cyclones, Fowler's Favorites, Oliver Naylor, George McClennon's Jazz Devils, Floyd Mills' Marylanders, Maynard Baird, King Oliver, Gowan's Rhapsody Makers, Sammie Lewis' Bamville Syncopators, the Hotentots and Frankie Franko.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow