DB Hall of Fame



DB Hall of Fame



DECEMBER  2,  1939     Saturday “CAMEL CARAVAN”
NBC Radio Network / WEAF
Radio City Studios,  NYC

  4-BARS  +  8-BARS  “BLUES” Key of   G Quarter Note =   214 Time:   2:16
  MC:   “…and now a few chosen words about the sextet – Mr Goodman…”
  Goodman:   “In a survey being made among professional musicians, the sextet seems to be winning first place as the most
  popular instrumental group within a band, which makes us all feel pretty proud and incidentally Charlie Christian,
  who was unknown six months ago, is being named in this same poll as the best swing guitarist in the country.
  Tonight we’d like to play a number that features Charlie – ‘AC-Current’.  Take it, Charles…”
    4  bars  –  CC Intro (unaccompanied)
    8  bars  –  CC  &  ensemble Theme Riffs
    4  bars  –  CC   (unaccompanied)
    8  bars  –  CC  &  ensemble Theme Riffs
      4  bars  –  vibes (w/ drums on last bar)
      8  bars  –  clarinet;  vibes riffs
      4  bars  –  vibes (unaccompanied)
      8  bars  –  clarinet;  vibes riffs
      4  bars  –  clarinet (unaccompanied)
      8  bars  –  clarinet;  vibes riffs
      4  bars  –  clarinet (unaccompanied)
      8  bars  –  clarinet;  vibes riffs
      4  bars  –  bass (unaccompanied)
      8  bars  –  clarinet;  vibes riffs
    4  bars  –  CC (unaccompanied except for one rimshot)
      8  bars  –  clarinet;  vibes riffs
      8  bars  –  clarinet;  vibes riffs
    8  bars  –  CC  &  ensemble Theme Riffs
    8  bars  –  CC  &  ensemble Theme Riffs
a Jerry Newhouse recording 

  Benny Goodman Sextet
  BENNY GOODMAN clarinet

Composed by: Charlie Christian - Lionel Hampton
©   VALDÉS   7/4/18


Transcription Page:     AC-DC Current  —  2 December 1939



The sextet treats this piece similarly on all its renditions with little space for proper solos.  Mostly four-bar breaks with the theme repeated three times and short solo statements sprinkled here and there.  It’s a slightly-modified blues that often wells up into a boogie beat.

All five recordings of AC-DC Current start out with the same guitar intro without noticeable variation.  Charlie Christian incorporated this intro sequence into his solos on a few other tunes.

The first guitar solo on the first three versions are effectually analogous.  This four-bar break follows immediately after the initial theme and may be of keen interest to guitarists in the interplay between the twelfth fret and open string;  and in the variation in detail between the three samples.  At this first guitar break, the studio take contains what some would consider the only bona fide CC solo on AC-DC Current.

On the next guitar break, with the exception of pre-bent-note scales on the initial version of the tune, beginning with the Nov 27th rendition the solos all contain the same double-stop accentuations where Charles bends the lower note.  Comparable to those he played on his intro and the out chorus on Shivers earlier in the month.

A unison break by guitar and ensemble is introduced on the later studio version which, incidentally, was not originally released – not until over a decade later, on EP.  The second half of the sequence is a familiar CC run.  The order of appearance of the double-stop and the unison readings are reversed on the final rendering.

A novel Christian-Hampton composition presented with much jubilation but not the sextet’s best outing.  Goodman seems to have been fond of it while Hampton was in the sextet.  Still, it’s good to have a sampling of CC’s unique twelfth-fret / open-string interplay.

All but the last recording of this tune took place in New York City within a three-month period.  The last one was performed at the end their four-month tour of the West Coast;  after that date on Santa Catalina Island the band would take a four-month hiatus before regrouping back East at their home base.

  AC-DC Current  1 14 Oct 1939 “Camel Caravan”
  AC-DC Current  2 27 Nov 1939 Waldorf-Astoria
  AC-DC Current  3 2 Dec 1939 “Camel Caravan”
  AC-DC Current  4 20 Dec 1939 WCO 26355 A
  AC-DC Current  5 30 Jun 1940 Santa Catalina

Issued Recordings:
  [ CD ] Definitive DRCD11177 (disc 1, track 18)
    Encore 7001 (disc 1, track 15)
    JSP Records JSP909 (disc 1, track 19)
    Masters of Jazz MJCD 40 (track 1)
    Masters of Jazz MJCD 9004 (disc 3, track 1)
    Proper P1491 (track 11)
    Proper PROPERBOX 98 (disc 3, track 11)
    Uptown UPCD 27.63 (track 12)


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