At the beginning of the opening number "Dippermouth Blues," Max Collie's Rhythm Aces sound so ragged that one wonders if this is going to be an overly primitive set of Dixieland. But the band quickly becomes more coherent without losing its spirit. The packaging, which lists most of the songs as "traditional" without giving its composers and has "Weary Blues" listed as "Traveling Blues," could be better but the music is highly enjoyable. Cornetist Phil Mason and trombonist-leader Max Collie deserve to be better known. "My Man" (a blues, not the well-known standard) has good-time singing by Pauline Pearce and Marilyn Middleton Pollock. Pearce also pops up on a couple other vintage pieces. But the main reason to get this set is for the exciting ensembles. The Max Collie band, one of the top British trad groups since its formation in 1966, should be known by all Dixieland followers.
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by Scott Yanow