Freddy Cole: Waiter Ask The Man to Play the Blues (2004)

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Freddy Cole: Waiter Ask The Man to Play the Blues
Originally released either in 1956, according to Freddy Cole's official website, or 1964, per the reissue's information, Waiter Ask The Man to Play the Blues: Freddie Cole Sings & Plays Some Lonely Ballads isn't—as the title might tempt one to think—an exercise in despondent blues and wrist slashing. Actually, it has plenty of tight, low, sizzling bluesy swing.

Cab Calloway alumni Milt Hinton and Sam "The Man Taylor (the latter being the instrumental star of the session) are the most notable musicians in the quintet. Cole sings and plays the piano in fine form, Osie Johnson offers smartly played drumming, and Barry Galbraith and Wally Richardson split the guitar duties. The New York recording is a product of its time, with assured long-lasting worth nonetheless. All of the cuts are short and to the point. They do, however, generate interest and radiate musicality.

"Muddy Water Blues is a cool, yet engaging percussive piece with a characteristic blues march. Taylor seems eager to jump in until he does exactly that about halfway through with energetic aplomb and swing. This one is a jumping jive that would make an audience clap with abandon.

On "I Wonder, Cole sweetens the pot with his tasteful piano playing on a mellow blues, Hinton lays back ever so strong, Taylor seduces with his classic jazzy saxophone tone, and Johnson eats this romantic cooker up. "Black Night and "Rain is Such A Lonesome Sound are similar in scope, extension, and sonic character. On both of these numbers, particularly the second, you'll find yourself marking time with your feet or snapping your fingers to the steady beat.

This release is a superb example of urban settled and cosmopolitan blues arousing affection through sheer straightforwardness even when—as expected of the blues—many of the lyrics are thematically inclined to the loneliest travails of love and life.

Track Listing: 1. Waiter, Ask The Man To Play The Blues (Ferber-Hunt-Travers) 2. Black Night (J.M. Robinson) 3. Rain Is Such A Lonesome Sound (Witherspoon-Witherspoon) 4. Bye Bye Baby (Willis) 5. Just A Dream (B.B. Broonzy) 6. Muddy Water Blues (Spruell) 7. Black Coffee (Burke-P.F. Webster) 8. The Joke Is On Me (Hunt) 9. I Wonder (C. Gant-Leveen) 10. This Life I'm Living (P. Chatman) 11. Blues Before Sunrise (L. Carr) 12. I'm All Alone (Cole)

Personnel: Bass: Milt Hinton. Drums: Osie Johnson. Guitar: Barry Galbraith & Wally Richardson. Piano & vocal: Freddy Cole. Tenor sax: Sam "The Man" Taylor.

Record Label: Verve Music Group


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