(P.E.K. Sound - PKCD-323) 2008
Roll Along Prairie Moon; Railroad Blues, Silver Bell; Whenever You're Lonesome; Creole Song; My Memphis Baby; Uptown Bumps; Short Dress Gal; TV Mama; Magic is The Moonlight; Bogalousa Strut; Just A Closer Walk With Thee
(P.E.K. Sound - PKCD-240) 2001

Any-Kind-A-Man, Don't Foot Around On Me, Confessin' The Blues, Far Away Blues, Ol' Sam Tages, You Can't Tell The Difference After Dark, Stavin' Chain (That Rockin' Swing), Blues At Sunrise, For Sale (Hannah Johnson's Big Jack Ass), You Stole My Cherry, The Lord Will Make A Way, I Want A Two-Fisted Double Jointed Man, Lead Pencil Blues, I'm A Sales Lady, My Band-New Papa, Down In The Mouf' Blues, Stavin' Chain, Make Me A Pallet On The Floor, May The Bird Of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose

(P.E.K. Sound - PKCD-141) 2001
Freight Train Blues, Separation Blues, Hot Nuts, Whip It To A Jelly, Someday You'll Want Me To Want You, Ease It, Fore Day Rider, Percolatin' Blues, Don't You Feel My Leg, Why, C.O.D., Hear Me Talking To You, Love Songs Of The Nile, How Long Blues; Stormy Evening Blues, His Eye Is On The Sparrow, Yonder Come The Blues, We Shall Walk Through The Streets Of The City
(SJS Records) 2001
Martha, My Life Will Be Sweeter Someday, Bouncing Around, Mardi Gras In New Orleans, All Alone By The Telephone, I Bet You Tell That To All The Girls, Don't You Feel My Leg, Old Fashioned Love, Every Minute Of The Hour, Give Me Your Telephone Number
(PEK Sound) 1999
You Can't Be True Dear, I'm With You Where You Are, Up Jumped The Devil, Sleepy Time Gal, Little Girl, My Memphis Baby, Kiss Me Sweet, Lead Me Saviour, Buddy Bolden's Blues, Mobile Stomp, All Alone, Isle Of Capri, You Took Advantage Of Me, Every Minute Of The Hour, When I Grow Too Old To Dream
(The International Jazz Band)1997
In The Gutter, What A Friend We Have In Jesus, Clarinet Marmalade, Mon Cher Ami, Just A Little While To Stay Here, One Sweet Letter, Moose - A March, It Feels So Good, Pagan Love Song, Old Black Joe, Four Or Five Times, Canal Street Blues
Record Company
Song Titles to come...
Record Company
Dippermouth Blues, West End Blues, Exactly Like You, Rose Room, Don't Give Up the Ship, Careless Love, St. Louis Blues, Climax Rag, Mood Indigo/Creole Love Call, Saxawoogie, Savoy Blues, Somebody Stole My Gal, Ciribiribin, I Can't Escape From You, Just A Closer Walk With Thee/West Lawn, Tiger Rag
(Jazz Crusade 3027) 19__
Porter's Love Song, Coquette, Pretend, Sometimes My Burden, If I Had You, Old Grey Bonnet, Siboney, Bogalusa Strut, Back Porch, All The Whores, Underneath Hawaiian Skies, Anytime, There'll Be Some Changes Made, Who's Sorry Now, It's Tight Like That
(Jazz Crusade 3021) 1995
I Want to Be Happy, a Good Man Is Hard to Find, over in the Gloryland, Just One More Chance, My Old Kentucky Home, Jackass Blues, Give Me Your Telephone Number, Chloe, I'll Always Be in Love with You, Whispering, Arkansas Blues, the Olympia on Parade
(Jazz Crusade) 1994
Martha, Sweet Fields, Where The River Shannon Flows, About A Quarter To Nine, Song Of The Islands, Down Home Rag, Under The Bamboo Tree, It Looks Like A Big Time Tonight, Breeze, Love Nest, Margie, Mama Inez, Get Out Of Here, Whatever Happened to Johnny Parker Blues
(Jazz Crusade) 1993
Smile Darn You Smile, You Are My Sunshine, When My Dreamboat Comes Home, Yearning, Marie, Blues For Two's, Kid Thomas Boogie, On Moonlight Bay, Collegiate, S'il Vous Plait, On A Coconut Island, Should I Reveal
(Lake/GHB) 1993
Mardi Gras In New Orleans, My Life Will Be Sweeter Someday, Somebody Else Is Taking My Place, In The Garden, Whooping Blues, Mama Inez, What A Friend We Have In Jesus, Junco Partner, Bogalusa Strut, Lead Me Saviour, Sweet Fields
Record Company

Mardi Gras Parade, Bourbon Street Parade, March of the Bob Cats, Buzzards Parade, King Zulu Parade, High Society, While We Danced At The Mardi Gras, If Iver I Cease To Love, South Ramp Art Street Parade, Go To The Mardi Gras, Moose Parade, Why Don't You Go To New Orleans, Joe Avery's Whoopin' Blues, The Second Line, When The Saints Go Marching IN, The Day After Mardi Gras


by Mike Pointon in Just Jazz Magazine - Oct 2001

Sarah Spencer is a rare example of a British woman who has been steeped in New Orleans music for most of her life and it can be felt in every note she sings or plays. From an early age she, as a regular visitor to Preservation Hall with her jazz loving parents, and her gutsy tenor in Manuel Paul vein made itself heard on the European scene a few years back. She has now settled in the USA and on one of her visits to Britain gathered a few friends around for this unusual album. It's unusual in the fact that Sarah has only recently begun to sing, but, unlike so many Europeans, she manages to get inside the blues style rather than give a pastiche. As Derek Winters (who plays sympathetic trumpet here)writes in his intro notes, this CD covers a wide range of material from traditional blues, vaudeville songs and r&b, ending on a hymn ~ quite a range and certainly not superficial... From Freight Train Blues, with surefooted piano by Browne, we get a taste of the Billie Pierce style, move back to Clara Smith's 20s Separation Blues contrasted later by an original Stormy Evening Blues, showing Sarah's mature approach to the idiom. The many-faceted repertoire reflects several aspects of blues, all underlined by the singer's affectionate sleeve notes. Jay McShann's Fore Day Rider features some riffing sax, and another original, Why (not the Morton song) has shades of Cleo Brown. The finale, We Shall Walk Through The Streets Of The City gives a warm rounding off to this highly original and relaxed album which deserves to be heard by those who don't believe blues can be sung this side of the Atlantic. (You ask about its unusual title? That's a line from the intensely felt Ease It, a beautifully non-PC lyric Sarah's fond of!).

by Scott Yanow - Mississippi Rag 2000

Trombonist Big Bill Bissonette founded and ran the Jazz Crusade label in the 1960s, specializing in revival New Orleans jazz as played by the survivors from decades earlier. In the early 1990s he brought back the label and resumed documenting the ensemble-oriented music that he loved. Although virtually none of the early New Orleans players was still around, Bissonnette has had no difficulty finding younger musicians in the genre who deserve to be recorded.

Several of Bissonnette's projects (including the twocovered in this article) have found him visiting England where trad jazz has a long tradition, dating back to Ken Colyer and Humphrey Lyttleton in the 1950s and such popular trad stars as Kenny Ball, Chris Barber and Acker Bilk.

George Probert, who for a time was with Kid Ory's Creole Jazz Band in the 1950s, is perhaps best known for his period as a member of the Firehouse Five Plus Two. His exuberant soprano playing is quite distinctive, owing little to Sidney Bechet except in its passion. In 1995 he was featured with Sarah's British All-Stars for a rollicking session that resulted in By George.

At the time, Sarah was Big Bill's wife (they have since parted) and a major new find. Her tenor playing was equal parts 1925 Coleman Hawkins and 1960s Cap'n John Handy (if Handy had played tenor rather than alto). Her percussive attack, large tone and forceful solos bridge the gap between New Orleans jazz and early R&B. Probert and Spencer make for an exciting team on By George and are the two main voices both in ensemble and as soloists. Trombonist Geoff Cole also fares well while trumpeter Dave Copperwaite is very much in a supportive role (Probert usually takes the lead in ensembles) and the rhythm section (pianist Pat Hawes, banjoist Andy Ford, bassist Ken Matthews and drummer Pete Lay) keeps the music moving.

The repertoire includes some swing standards, 1920's New Orleans favorites, a version of "A Good Man Is Hard To Find" that has Probert switching to alto, and plenty of stomping ensembles. This is a CD that is impossible not to enjoy.

Spencer and Hawes return on Here Comes Sarah, a 1996 set that is on the same level as the George Probert disc. Although it is the tenor's date, she does not dominate the music and gives plenty of solo space to trumpeter Ken Pye (whom Bill Bissonnette in the liner notes lovingly calls a "Kid Thomas plagiarist"), trombonist Paul Munnery and Frank Brooker on clarinet and second tenor. The music is reminiscent of 1960s New Orleans jazz, both in its repertoire and its alternation of spirited ensembles and colorful solos. The rhythm section, comprised of pianist Hawes, banjoist Dave Brennan, bassist Annie Hawkins and drummer Dion Cochrane, is particularly strong, due partly to the interplay between Hawkins and Cochrane.

Pye, with his clipped phrases and tonal distortions, usually leads the ensembles while the other three horns interact menacingly in the background. Because Brooker is a much smoother player (as can be heard on clarinet and two appearances on tenor), his style contrasts with that of Spencer and Pye while trombonist Munnery is somewhere in between. The difference is most striking on "If I Had You" where it sounds as if Benny Goodman was being followed by Kid Thomas Valentine.

Among the highpoints of this joyful and somewhat rambunctious set are the many ensembles on "Sometimes My Burden", the latin rhythms given to "Siboney", "Bogalusa Strut" and a lengthy "There'll Be Some Changes Made". But the individual songs and soloists are not as significant as the spirit of the band in general, with its extroverted players and constantly forceful rhythm section. Great fun.

by Jeremy Brown from Mississippi Rag

This is the second of the "Best Of The Brits" series put out by Bill Bissonnette's Jazz Crusade label and features Sarah Spencer with a group of established British New Orleans revivalists. The very fact this this is a "pick-up" group assembled solely for the recording is very much in its favour as the musicians are required to react more closely to each other's playing rather than simply perform well-rehearsed routines, particularly since there is a concentrator on ensemble work rather than a procession of solos. This gives the music a nice free-wheeling and relaxed feel throughout.

While all the musicians present play well, for me the outstanding performer is Sarah Spencer. Her tenor playing, obviously closely following the style of Emanuel Paul, bowls along throughout, and she provides some excellent solos as well as offering admirable support to the ensemble passages, somehow using the instrument as both part of the front line and the rhythm section.

Brian Carrick is probable one of the most popular George Lewis-influenced clarinetists in Britain at the moment, and his "sweet" playing providesan ideal counterpart to Sarah's slightly rough-edged tenor sax. The front line is completed by Dave Copperwaite's strong and simple lead (perfect for this sort of informal session) and the driving trombone of Geoff Cole, who has a long pedigree of playing with many of the best bands, including a long spell with Ken Colyer. The four-man rhythm section, propelled by the drumming of Taff Lloyd and the slapped bass of Terry Knight, provides sterling support and the bonus is the inclusion of Johnny Parker on piano. Parker's career goes back many years to the early days of the Humphrey Lyttleton band some 45 years ago. Illness had kept him from the scene for several years prior to this recording date, and the inclusion of the extended blues feature for him, entitled "Whatever Happened to Johnny Parker" is proof that the lay-off has not diminished his talents. Mention should be made of the unobtrusive but essential banjo of Eric Webster.

The selection of tunes is wide, ranging from the standard New Orleans titles such as "Sweet Fields" and the more unusual Latin rhythm of "Mama Inex", often associated with Kid Thomas, through to a boogie version of "About A Quarter To Nine", retitled in honour of Johnny Parker, the Kid Ory composition "Get Out Of Here And Go On Home", and a gentle, and lengthy version of "Breeze". A favourite track is difficult to select but, if pushed, I would choose "Sweet Fields", which builds to an exciting climax, and the final Johnny Parker blues track, which gives each member of the group space to provide solos.

The recording quality, engineered by Dave Bennett, is good with fine balance. All in all, this album demonstrates very well that, if a collection of experienced musicians is gathered together in a relatively informal atmosphere, some excellent jazz will be produced. It is in the hands of players such as these that the British New Orleans style continues to develop. This disc can be readily recommended to anyone interested in the current scene on the east side of the Atlantic.

by John Featherstone from Jazz Times, 1992

Maybe my listening alfresco to this CD during the May heatwave provided an added dimension but I got a distinct impression that this is, in the main, outdoors music. Sarah Spencer's band incorporates much of the 'modern' New Orleans rhythmic approach, and the influence of the Dirty Dozen and Olympia is obvious. Bubbling throughout like a spring stream throwing patterns on adjacent rocks and leaves, Sarah illuminates with her wailing, driving tenor nowhere more brilliantly than on Bogalusa Strut, and old tune given a refreshingly new look.

There's a nice mix here with the long established favourite of Somebody Else Is Taking My Place, Bogalusa Strut, My Life Will Be Sweeter Someday and Mama Inez being matched with Mardi Gras In New Orleans, a 40's tune, and Junco Partner, two tunes rapidly joining the standards list for Jazz bands.

Mike Peters, sounding very much like Humphrey Lyttleton on his fine muted work, especially on Mardi Gras In New Orleans, provided a good and assured lead although a little unsure and strained on Mama Inez. Mick Burns, suitably tailgate and with an infectious rasp on glissando, takes the vocal chores doing a particularly fine job on Junco Partner. I would have liked the vocal to be included on In The Garden, a tune I first heard in a non-religious setting by Viola Wells on a 1972 recording. Nevertheless, this lovely piece is given a very expressive 3/4 time rendition.

It is Sarah's use of the drums and bass which gives the band its highly individual sound. Ron Darby's syncopated modified military-style when linked with Mike's rolling, swaying sousaphone work completes the illusion of New Orleans street beat. But this is not all swing and sway. Lead Me Saviour and What A Friend We Have In Jesus are deeply emotional performances, the latter containing an impassioned tenor solo from Sarah.

This is a most commendable first CD from the band. Nicely programmed, nicely different and very nicely recorded. And, before I forget, nice string bass too.

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