DB Hall of Fame

SOLO  FLIGHT

THE  CHARLIE  CHRISTIAN  LEGACY

DB Hall of Fame


 

 

GOOD ENOUGH TO KEEP
(Air Mail Special)
 
mx  WCO 26942 B
 
JUNE  11,  1940   *     Tuesday HOLLYWOOD
World Broadcasting System
[ for COLUMBIA Records ]   *
 

 
  32-BARS   (AABA) Key of   C Quarter Note =   230 Time:   2:47
 
 
  5  CHORUSES:
 
  1  chor  –  CC & ensemble (Theme)  
 
    1  chor  –  vibes    
 
  1  chor  –  CC    
 
    1  chor  –  clarinet    
 
  1  chor  –  CC & ensemble (riffs)  
 
 

 
Personnel:
 
  Benny Goodman Sextet
  CHARLIE CHRISTIAN Guitar
  BENNY GOODMAN clarinet
  LIONEL HAMPTON vibes
  DUDLEY BROOKS piano
  ARTIE BERNSTEIN bass
  NICK FATOOL drums
 
 

 
  * Matrix assigned on   JUNE 20, 1940.
  Recorded by the World Broadcasting System, Inc. (Hollywood)
  for the Columbia Recording Corp. (NYC)
 

Composed by: Charlie Christian
 
© VALDÉS   1/1/19


 

Good Enough to Keep  —  11 June 1940  —  WCO 26942 B

        First Page:              Theme

        Second Page:       Guitar Solo

        Third Page:             Out-Chorus

 



C&A:

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 A7-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.
 



 
Issued Recordings:
 
  [ CD ] Columbia/Legacy AC4K 65564 (disc 2, track 17)
    Columbia/Legacy C4K 65564 (disc 2, track 17)
    Sony/Legacy 93035 (disc 2, track 17)
 
 

 



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