Five different versions of Memories of You were recorded – all
within a three-month period; and all with the 1939 sextet in NYC, same personnel
(Smack was reinstated as the sextet pianist for the concert) and routine: one radio
studio broadcast, one at a Waldorf-Astoria Hotel gig, two in the Columbia recording studio
for possible commercial release, and one in concert at Carnegie Hall on Christmas Eve.
Goodman’s forte was playing the melody on ballads – his contributions to
this tune are exemplary.
Nov 22, 1939
Charles’ usual method is to employ eighth notes in his solos. On slower
tunes he would use sixteenth notes in parts of his solos. Memories of You is
unique in that he applies sixteenth notes exclusively on all five versions.
And he plays much of the rhythm straight (not syncopated) on all five of his
solos usually holding the swingin’ till the last bar.
Each and every one of Charlie Christian’s solos is beautifully put together. Like whiffs of
fresh air. They arrive, exhilarate, and are quickly gone.
WCO 26284 B – alternate take at Columbia Studios
Again Charles’ solo starts with a variation on
the beginning phrase that he had played on the first two versions of the tune. It continues unerringly
as a worthy alternate take. Selecting a best version of Memories of You is impossible. On
the G7 section here at bar 20 he precedes his phrase with a witty
Ab7 just before getting into his G7 run.
Jan Evensmo in The Guitars of Charlie Christian… (1976): “The studio versions of
Memories… are well played and quite dexterous to be held in slow tempo. They are also remarkably
different, although I think I find other versions, like the Oct 23, 1939 one, more exciting.”
Claude Carrière in Charlie Christian, Vol. 2 (1992) MJCD 29 liner notes:
“The short eight bars from Charlie on the bridge of Memories differs significantly from one take to the
other: the first restrained, the second adventurous. The brevity of Charlie’s intervention is all
the more regrettable in that the earlier version of this ideal showcase also denied him a complete chorus.”