Berl Olswanger & The Olswanger Beat – Berl Olswanger & The Olswanger Beat (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 31:16 minutes | 542 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Big Round Records
Blues and big band lovers are in for a swingin’ treat with Big Round Records’ new archival recording of BERL OLSWANGER AND THE OLSWANGER BEAT, the label’s third released recording by “Mr. Music of Memphis.” Olswanger, whose musical career spanned over a half-century, could easily be called a jack-of-all-trades: a popular bandleader, a prolific composer of swing music, a serial entrepreneur, and a wildly successful teacher bringing the art of music-making to the masses.
Hardly a surprise, then, that the music is as vibrant and upbeat as the man. Showcasing Olswanger’s keen awareness for both rhythm and his audience’s predilections, this album compiles an avalanche of true-blue foot-tappers, each more riveting than the last. The eleven tunes are by Clarence Williams, Lucy Fletcher, W.C. Handy, Sammy Cahn, and more, including Olswanger himself.
Dishing out the most popular music in Memphis for years wasn’t a one-man proposition for Olswanger. He always pointed the finger of fame at the musicians and long-time comrades in the Berl Olswanger Orchestra, featured with him on this album—Art Sutton on trombone, who once had a band of his own and played the South’s most wicked tailgate trombone; Pee Wee Wamble, one of the old Swift Jewel Cowboys, who was an ace at almost any instrument; Tommy Bennett, on electric bass, who played with Olswanger since they were junior high school classmates together; Byron Hudson, who was staff clarinetist at WREC-TV and assistant to Olswanger on arrangements; talented Bobby Ryan, who played drums; and young Jeanie Page, a vocalist who grew up in show business.
Many reasons were given for the popularity of the Berl Olswanger Orchestra with Memphis audiences, but the reason most given over the years was that this was the band with an intoxicating beat. Even out-of-town bands, when performing or passing through Memphis, came to listen. BERL OLSWANGER AND THE OLSWANGER BEAT, originally released in 1964 under Olswanger’s own Rivermont label and now digitized on Big Round Records, was the answer to hundreds of requests from fans who couldn’t get enough of the “Olswanger Beat.”
1. Berl Olswanger & The Olswanger Beat – Sutton’s Lick (02:44)
2. Berl Olswanger & The Olswanger Beat – Sugar Blues (02:39)
3. Berl Olswanger & The Olswanger Beat – Alley Cat (02:12)
4. Berl Olswanger & The Olswanger Beat – South Rampart Street Parade (02:53)
5. Berl Olswanger & The Olswanger Beat – Saint Louis Blues (03:44)
6. Berl Olswanger & The Olswanger Beat – At a Georgia Camp Meeting (03:38)
7. Jeanie Page, Berl Olswanger & The Olswanger Beat – Rhythm Is Our Business (03:02)
8. Jeanie Page, Berl Olswanger & The Olswanger Beat – Big Mistreatin’ Bittersweet’n Blues (02:35)
9. Jeanie Page, Berl Olswanger & The Olswanger Beat – After You’ve Gone (02:19)
10. Berl Olswanger & The Olswanger Beat – Yellow Dog Blues (02:35)
11. Berl Olswanger – The Third Man Theme (02:55)