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Louis Armstrong’s Prolific Late 1950s Anthologised On ‘Pops Is Tops’

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Jazz maestro Louis Armstrong’s prolific period of 1957 is to be new anthologised on Pops Is Tops: The Verve Studio Albums. The four CD and digital box set will be released by Verve/UMe on 13 April.

During the summer and autumn of that year, Armstrong recorded the follow-ups to his highly successful duets album with Ella Fitzgerald, Ella And Louis Again and Porgy and Bess. But over a number of productive sessions, he also recorded three further LPs for Norman Granz’s then-new Verve label.

These sets, I’ve Got The World On A String and Louis Under The Stars (both featuring the Russ Garcia Orchestra) and Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson, will now be augmented with the previously digital-only release A Day With Satchmo to form the new box set. 

These recordings will be presented in their original mono form, marking the first time these have been available since the original vinyl releases. They include both the original liner notes and new notes by the noted Armstrong authority Ricky Riccardi, director of research collections for the Louis Armstrong House Museum. He is also the author of What A Wonderful World: The Magic of Louis Armstrong’s Later Years.

Each disc in the set contains extensive bonus material of alternate takes from the sessions, and preorders of the digital version will feature an “instant grat” download of ‘Sweet Lorraine,’ featured on ouis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson.

Additionally, 6 April will see the release of the new four-CD and digital set Cheek To Cheek: The Complete Duet Recordings. Featuring no fewer than 75 tracks, it contains three newly-remastered versions of their timeless collaborations Ella and Louis, Ella and Louis Again and Porgy and Bess, along with all of their Decca singles; live recordings from Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl, which was recorded as a warm-up for the Ella and Louis recordings; and several alternates and false starts from the Decca and Verve eras.

Cheek To Cheek also includes the unreleased ‘The Memphis Blues,’ with Bing Crosby, from his radio show; several takes of Armstrong’s solo showcase ‘Bess, Oh Where’s My Bess’; and an instrumental mix of ‘Red-Headed Woman.’

Pre-order Pops Is Tops: The Verve Studio Albums here.

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Pops Is Tops: The Verve Studio Albums

Disc 1

I’ve Got The World On A String original mono album

1.   When Your Love Has Gone

2.   You’re the Top

3.   You Turned the Tables on Me

4.   Don’t Get Around Much Anymore

5.   Little Girl Blue

6.   Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen

7.   We’ll Be Together Again

8.   I’ve Got the World on a String

9.   Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me

10. I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues

Bonus Tracks

11. You Turned the Tables on Me (stereo master take)

12. Little Girl Blue (stereo master take)

13. You Turned the Tables on Me (alternate take 1 w/false start)

14. You Turned the Tables on Me (partial alternate take 3)

15. You Turned The Tables On Me (inserts & rehearsal)

16. I’ve Got the World on a String (false start/alternate take 2)

17. I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues (false start/breakdown takes 2 & 3)

18. I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues (alternate take 4)

Disc 2

Louis Under The Stars original mono album

1.   Top Hat, White Tie and Tails

2.   Have You Met Miss Jones?

3.   I Only Have Eyes For You

4.   Stormy Weather

5.   Home (When Shadows Fall)

6.   East of the Sun (and West of the Moon)

7.   You’re Blasé

8.   Body and Soul

Bonus Tracks

9.   East of the Sun (and West of the Moon) (stereo master take)

10. Body And Soul (stereo master take)

11. Stormy Weather (breakdown/alternate take 2)

12. Stormy Weather (alternate take 3)

13. Stormy Weather (breakdown 4)

14. Stormy Weather (breakdown 5)

Disc 3

Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson original mono album

1.   That Old Feeling

2.   Let’s Fall in Love

3.   I’ll Never Be the Same

4.   Blues in the Night (My Mama Done Tol’ Me)

5.   How Long Has This Been Going On?

6.    I Was Doing All Right

7.   What’s New?

8.   Moon Song

9.   Just One of Those Things (Cole Porter)

10. There’s No You

11. You Go to My Head

12. Sweet Lorraine

Bonus Tracks

13. Blues in the Night (rehearsal 1)

14. Let’s Fall In Love (alternate take 1)

15. Let’s Fall In Love (alternate take 2)

Additional Bonus Track

16. Indiana (studio warm-up)

Disc 4

A Day With Satchmo: August 1, 1957

1.   Makin’ Whoopee (breakdown)

2.   Makin’ Whoopee (alternate take 1)

3.   Makin’ Whoopee (alternate take 2)

4.   Makin’ Whoopee (breakdown 3)

5.   Makin’ Whoopee (master take 4)

6.   I Get a Kick Out of You

7.   I Get a Kick Out of You (breakdown and studio chatter 3)

8.   I Get a Kick Out of You (alternate take 4)

9. I Get a Kick Out of You (breakdown 5)

10. I Get a Kick Out of You (false start 6)

11. I Get a Kick Out of You (false start 7)

12. I Get a Kick Out of You (master take 8)

13. I Get a Kick Out of You (breakdowns and false starts 9-12)

14. I Get a Kick Out of You (alternate take 13)

15. Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love) (breakdowns 1 and 2)

16. Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall In Love) (alternate take 3)

17. Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall In Love) (master take 4)

18. Willow Weep for Me (false start 1)

19. Willow Weep for Me (alternate take 2)

20. Willow Weep for Me (breakdown and false start 3)

21. Willow Weep For Me (alternate take 4)

22. Willow Weep for Me (false start 5)

23. Willow Weep for Me (breakdown 6)

24. Willow Weep For Me (master take 7)

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