Eddie Condon: Midnight in Moscow/The Roaring Twenties (2003)
One luxury afforded Eddie Condon on the LP era was the concept album, which he explored on the two releases featured on this collection. Midnight in Moscow has the more unconvincing gimmick of the two (songs pertaining to specific countries), but is really quite good, due in large part to the double threat of Peanuts Hucko and Bobby Hackett, who work together like a couple of linebackers. They really tear the lid off of a swinging version of Tchaikovsky’s “Theme From Swan Lake” and manage to make convincing music out of “Loch Lomond” and Londonberry Air.” Other tunes, such as “The Sheik of Araby,” are comfortable versions of early jazz chestnuts.
For once Condon can be heard, albeit faintly, and we get a glimpse of his prowess as a rhythm guitarist, suggesting that he was as much a leader behind the instrument as he was without it. The second session, The Roaring Twenties, comes off as more of a growl than a roar. Every song seems slightly lethargic, as if it was recorded on a Sunday morning, and tunes selections like “Minor Drag” and “My Monday Date” seem aptly titled. Given the consistency of the players involved, it’s hard to fault the musicians; it must just have been an off day. There’s still some good soloing and it’s hard to fault a disc that includes two complete sessions for the price of one.
Track Listing: 1. Meadowlands 2. Dark Eyes 3. Theme From Swan Lake 4. Hindustan 5. The Japanese Sandman 6. Loch Lomond 7. Londonberry Air 8. La Via En Rose 9. The Sheik of Araby 10. Midnight In Moscow 11. Wolverine Blues 12. Chimes Blues 13. Put
Personnel: Eddie Condon-guitar; with Peanuts Hucko, Bobby Hackett, Dick Cary, Lou McGairty, Billy Butterfield, Bud Freeman, and others.