Papa Celestin and New Orleans Band was one of the most popular jazz groups for a short while in the early '50s. The veteran trumpeter (who was in his mid-sixties but seemed older) performed spirited versions of New Orleans standards, even getting to play once at the White House in the Eisenhower years (a rare event during that era for a jazz band). This CD from GHB combines together two former LPs. Celestin is heard mostly singing on four numbers from 1954 (his final recordings are highlighted by the atmospheric title cut and an emotional "Down by the Riverside") and jamming with his sextet (a group including the ancient, but still viable, clarinetist Alphonse Picou) on ten Dixieland standards in 1950-1951. The liner notes may be a bit irrelevant (not even giving the recording dates), pianist Octave Crosby gets lost now and then, and the ensembles sometimes slip out of tune, but the spirit and the joy of the music make this definitive Oscar Celestin CD a must for New Orleans jazz fans.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow