Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Count Basie Swings, Joe Williams Sings
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VINE VOICEon September 17, 2000
That quote, from Joe Williams as part of the liner notes for this remarkable re-issue, emphasizes that blues is not so much a rudimentary style as an approach to music and, especially, lyrics. It's a lesson Basie, Williams, Ray Charles, B.B. King, Bobby Bland, and a generation's country, R&B, and blues performers taught the rock and roll revolution that so quickly followed and incorporated them.
"Basie Swings - Williams Sings" joins jazz vocal panache to Basie's rollicking big-band punch. Williams sings circles around the melodies of "The Comeback," (with its stick-and-move sax punctuation) Joe Turner's "Roll 'Em Pete," (with Williams trilling "Ohwellohwellohwell..." as if he discovered a new instrument) and the huge R&B hit, "Everyday I Have The Blues" (later a B.B. King theme song). Credit Frank Foster's inventive, galloping arrangements (brought to the fore by Phil Schaap's excellent remastering) for bringing fire and funk to what otherwise would've been a swing-era holdover. On the ballad side, "In the Evening" brings flutes and clarinets into a sleepy blues tune that recalls Bland's later, "If You Could Read My Mind."
This LP and its long-running success deservedly expanded and extended Basie and Williams' careers, stretching across pop culture from Basie's three LPs with Frank Sinatra (and a band still performing Foster's arrangements today) to Williams' casting on the "Cosby Show." Most importantly, "Basie Swings - Williams Sings" redefined big band music for the post-rock and roll era, making it essential to jazz, blues, and early rock and roll fans all.
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on February 5, 2004
One of the all time greatest albums. Nearly every track fills you with excitement and joy. But...this is one album that is begging for a high-resolution re-mastering and re-issue. The recording is scratchy, lacks depth, and the bass is nearly non-existent.
Verve Records - Please Please PLEASE! Re-issue this classic album as a Master Edition! This should be one of the 10 most essential jazz CDs in every person's library, but it won't happen without a CD that meets the modern auditory expectation for jazz classics of this era.
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VINE VOICEon January 18, 2002
You won't believe this album was recorded way back in 1955-56. The linear notes say it's Count and Joe's first together, with Joe "acting as a catalyst for this new band's self-discovery". I first heard/bought this vinyl around 1975, when I was fleeing from the top 40 pop of the time, and this album helped initiate me into classic swing/big band sounds, which has never left. Any quick first listening will quickly show how much rock and roll-type pop pales in comparison. Listening to these guys at their best is like working out with a punching bag that never quits. The CD also has three extras, one of which may be a standard, but I'd never heard it before or since, as far as I remember. It's the beautiful "As I Love You" , a nice quiet moment during an otherwise incredible up-tempo experience. The Basie catalogue is long, and at times mixed, but his band from this time into the early's 60's was the top, maybe the #1 of them all. Even more amazing that during this time, Count was in his 50's. Which just proves once more the timeless quality of his music, contrasted to the embarrassing stuff that most older rockers are still doing.
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on June 2, 2000
An excellent album. Great variety and the Basie band really smokes on this one. One of the other reviews talked about the Sinatra/Basie lps, and they're unquestionably excellent--especially the first one. But this title has an explosive quality all its own. Well worth your time.
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on March 3, 2002
Absolutely fantastic! Joe Williams is awesome and Count Basie's orchestra is in fabulous form. This album totally knocks me out. My dad had the original vinyl recording and I loved it from the very first time I heard it as a kid. Every song is top-notch. I'd give it a hundred-star rating, if I could. I consider it an essential CD for any serious music lover's collection.
To "a music fan" in Atlanta: Yeah, Frankie is excellent -- in fact, I'm a huge, huge fan of his music -- but c'mon, there ARE other noteworthy artists out there, and Joe Williams is certainly one of them. Sheesh!
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on April 1, 2015
This was the opening act for Joe Willams with Count Basie. It is a performance masterpiece. 5 stars for performance. Sonically the recording is not great, 1956 technology, which is why I marked it down. But hoo boy. Frankly, Joe Williams sung circles around Sinatra with the Basie Band, (Sinatra at the Sands is also a worthy record to acquire and much better sonically). In fact, Joe Williams, as demonstrated on this recording, has never been surpassed as a big band vocalist (male category).
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on February 8, 2016
Joe Williams and the Count Basie Band were destined for each other , the timing the sound were as one. This is a great Album from start to finish. I highly reccomended it to anyone who loves music period.
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on September 29, 2003
I was looking for something to complement my music collection comprised mostly of rock. This CD does an excellent job.
The only drawback is that some of the tracks have a bit more noise, or background hiss, than I would like; undoubtedly due to the recording equipment of the day. But I like the songs so much that that cannot deter me from giving this CD 5 stars.
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on June 16, 2009
I loved it the first time I was introduced to it on wax and I love it now on CD. This collaboration is a seminal piece in any jazz library.

IMO, I think that those who criticize the recording quality (which I love), are ignoring the nostalgic effect that Joe's crooning helps to produce. I like the scratchiness and the tinniness; it adds real character to an already wonderful album.

And to the Sinatra fan...whatever. Two different artists, two different styles, two different followings. Don't hate Joe 'cause you love Sinatra; it ain't becoming.
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on October 7, 2003
This is the DEFINITIVE Count Basie + Williams album! IT DOES NOT get any better than this!
Of special credit:
"Everyday" <--Easily the best arragement--EVER!
"Please Send me Someone to Love" <--Ditto.
etc etc
BUY IT
LISTEN TO IT
LOVE IT!
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