Good Enough to Keep was recorded three times during this session but none
of the takes were released as singles. (It would be recorded twice again in
the studio nine months later and released by Columbia in May of 1941. It was
re-titled Air Mail Special in later pressings.)
The tune is a riff-based composition and has Charlie Christian’s stamp all
over it. The bridge in particular is permeated with the guitarist’s
phrases. The same bridge is used on both the first and the last choruses.
The piece is structured in an AABA format and, other than the B section,
it’s a simple motif, and in the easiest of all keys. On this session,
vibes, guitar, and clarinet solo between the theme and the shout-chorus.
WCO 26942 A
☊ LISTEN Guitar Solo – first take
In the first eight bars of his solo on this first take, Charlie Christian
comes out with some strikingly unique and original ideas. Quite different
from all of the other versions including the ones on this date. On mm 13-14
we find the stair-step sequence also encountered in a few other solos – but
never sounding banal. Next couple of bars, Charles sets up for the bridge on
which he comes in from above the clouds and, with a diminished run, swoops
down skimming the nut then flies high up again before he turns around to
level off on his solo flight.
Every four-bar section is, more of less, set off with its own phrase, which
is a bit unusual for a CC solo. There is little blurring of bar lines.
WCO 26942 B
☊ LISTEN Guitar Solo – second take
The tempo was moved up considerably for this second take. Charlie Christian
is playing the blues on the A sections of this take. Actually, discounting
the bridge, this is R&B.
WCO 26942 C
☊ LISTEN Guitar Solo – third take
A bit slower tempo from the previous take for this last run of the day.
Unless there’s a glitch in Columbia’s recording, that’s a rather clumsy
start on the guitarist’s solo. Charles soon settles in with a familiar
sequence at mm 6-7 presented in an unusual manner. He marks some time for a
couple of bars then goes into a wonderful and most unique phrase at mm 10-11
which could well be an expression of mild frustration – we’ve heard such
before on breakdowns. The next few bars before the bridge contain a familiar
run that’s drawn out in time rather playfully.
It’s an interesting solo with several exploratory adjuncts but it seems
rather lackadaisical, like he’s not agreeing with the path taken by the
ensemble or possibly vexed by his own opening. Most likely though, knowing
it’s a discard, he’s just loosely experimenting with possibilities. The
A♭7-G7 run towards the end of the bridge is an engaging instance.
All three takes of Good Enough to Keep from this recording date were
shelved. They were never released as singles. The “A” take was eventually
released on LP, 32 years later. The other two takes were finally released
62 years after they were recorded, on the Columbia guitar-amp box set.