Although the musical art of the early-50s Count Basie band had been widely appreciated by jazz fans and musicians even before Joe Williams joined on the Christmas Day, 1954, his arrival as the bands vocalist put the final seal on public approval. It was a marriage made in heaven. From the first day, he won over both jazz fans and r&b audiences with his laconic, deadpan delivery and earthy, beat-rich blues declamatory style.
What Joe WilliamsDown Beats New Star of the Yearbrought to the Basie band was a link to the people, a vocal bridge over which they could join themselves to the band. What Basie got in Williams was not the best blues singer of the age, nor the best ballad singer of the year, but a man who was adapted to the peculiarly complex Basie sound. It took that firmness, that strength of Williams and his qualities as a preacher, to give the band the extra excitement needed to complete the package.
The blues were wailing and swinging and shouting night after night, and the riffs and figures echoed wordless phrases in response to the singers full-bodied vocal belting. Williams backed by the Basie band was a magical combination.
01. Every Day I Have the Blues
02. The Comeback
03. Alright, OK, You Win
04. In the Evening, When the Sun Goes Down
05. Teach Me Tonight
06. Please Send Me Someone to Love
07. My Baby Upsets Me
08. Every Day I Fall In Love
09. Roll Em Pete
10. As I Love You
11. Stop! Dont!
12. Im Beginning to See the Light
13. Our Love Is Here to Stay
14. A Fine Romance
16. Singin in the Rain
17. There Will Never Be Another You
18. My Baby Just Cares for Me
19. 'S Wonderful
20. This Cant Be Love
21. Come Rain or Come Shine
22. I Cant Believe That Youre In Love with Me
23. Thou Swell
24. Im Beginning to See the Light -Alternate take
Tracks #1-9 from the Clef 12" LP "Count Basie Swings, Joe Williams Sings" (678 mono)
Tracks #10-11 from the Verve 7" single MGV-2004
Tracks #12-23 from the Verve 12" LP "The Greatest!! Count Basie Plays, Joe Williams
Sings Standards" (SW-90558 stereo)
Track #24 is an alternate take
Personnel on all tracks:
Count Basie & His Orchestra with Joe Williams
Reunald Jones, Wendell Culley, Thad Jones, Joe Newman (tp), Bill Hughes, Henry Coker, Benny Powell (tb), Marshall Royal (as, cl), Bill Graham (as), Frank Wess (as, ts, fl), Frank Foster (ts, arr), Charlie Fowlkes (bs, b-cl), Count Basie (p), Freddie Green (g), Eddie Jones (b), Sonny Payne (d).
Arrangements by Ernie Wilkins (#1,5), Frank Foster (#2,3,4,6,7,8,9), and Buddy Bregman (#12-24).
Fine Studios, New York City, May 17 (#1-4); July 26 (#5-9), 1955
Universal Recordings Group, Chicago, January 23 (#10-11), 1956
Capitol Studios, Los Angeles, April 28 (#12-17 & 24); May 1 (#18-23), 1956
All sessions originally produced by Norman Granz
Reissue produced by Jordi Pujol and "Beethoven" Jean-Michel Reisser
Mono / Stereo · 24-Bit Digitally Remastered