Swingin´ The Blues

Claude "Fiddler" Williams

Bullseye Blues & Jazz CD BB 9627

Rounder Records Corp.
One Camp St.
Cambridge, MA 02140 USA

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Guntram Gudowius

It´s funny how at the beginning of the new century there are musicians being "rediscovered" who actively played most of the last century and still have something to show us. Better yet, they have something for us to listen to. Claude "The Fiddler" Williams is one of these.

These ten pieces, of course, all feature Claude on violin. It´s amazing what sounds he gets out of that instrument and what moods he creates as the violin "talks" with the piano, guitar, bass, drums and alto saxophone. Blind New Orleans pianist Henry Butler just tickles the notes out of his instrument, while Joe Cohn´s fingers fly across the strings of his guitar. The solid rhythm section of Keter Betts on acoustic bass and Jimmy Lovelace on drums has room for solos where their abilities can be displayed. Adding spice on a few cuts is the very smooth saxophone of special guest Bobby Watson. Claude Williams sings in one of the songs with a raspy old man´s voice that fits perfectly the accompaniment. It´s the give and take between these fine musicians that makes it a pleasure to listen to, even if one is not a jazz lover per se (which I am not). I was familiar only with two of the ten pieces, but the eight others quickly became familiar.

Though Swingin´ The Blues might not become a "hit-record" in the vein of the Buena Vista guys, it does evidence some of the same joy and high musical quality with the playing and feeling that of a relaxed happy hour band. So there you have it, 60+ minutes of acoustic pleasure in a very fun album!

Track List:

  • The Preacher (Horace Silver)
  • Things Ain´t What They Used To Be (Mercer Ellington)
  • Somewhere Over The Rainbow (Harold Arlen-E.Y. Harburg)
  • A Smooth One (Benny Goodman)
  • Gee Baby, Ain´t I Good To You (Andy Razaf-Don Redman)
  • I´m Just A Lucky So and So (Duke Ellington-David Mack)
  • Moten Swing (Benny Moten-Ira A. Moten)
  • These Foolish Things (Harry Link-Eric Maschwitz-Jack Strachey)
  • One For The Count (Frank Smith)
  • There Is No Greater Love (Isham Jones-Marty Symes)


Claude "Fiddler" Williams - violin, vocals
Henry Butler - piano
Joe Cohn - guitar
Keter Betts - acoustic bass, music direction
Jimmy Lovelace - drums

Special guest:
Bobby Watson - alto saxophone

Produced by Russ Dantzler & Scott Billington
Recorded direct to 2-track analogue tape, NYC
Mastered to 24 bit digital, Southborough, MA

Edited by: Mark O'Donnell

Copyright 2000, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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