McKinney's Cotton Pickers

The Complete McKinney's Cotton Pickers, Vol. 5: Plus Don Redman & His Orche

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The third of three French RCA two-Lp sets released in the early 1980's finishes up the McKinney's Cotton Pickers story with the classic big band's final seven songs (plus four alternate takes). Although commercial vocals were starting to dominate, the band (even after leader Don Redman's departure) was still impressive and picking altoist-arranger Benny Carter as the new musical director would have been a good move if the band had been able to continue recording after 1931. There are also two titles (and an alternate) from the Carolina Dandies, a group utilizing some of the sidemen from the Cotton Pickers. The latter half of this twofer features Don Redman's swing orchestra of 1938-40, an excellent outfit that never really developed a distinctive sound of its own. Its leader's cheerful vocals and advanced arrangements combined with some good soloists to create some fine swing music but the band was history by early-1940. The three RCA two-LP reissues are the best way to acquire all of this valuable music since, unlike the later CD reissues, it has all of the two orchestra's alternate takes but they will be difficult to locate.