Chris Barber's Blues Book, Volume One
Ottilie Patterson and Chris Barber's Jazz Band
LP: Columbia 33SX 1333
Recorded in 1960 / Released in 1961
Cover scans by Gordon Bull
In the 1950s and 1960s it was more common than not for Chris Barber LP records to be released in series. To begin with, on the Pye/Nixa label, there was the four-volume set of 10-inch LPs, Chris Barber Plays, followed by the In Concert series featuring live performances at the Royal Festival Hall (London), Birmingham, and Brighton. After the Denis Preston Supervision operation moved from Nixa to Columbia the trend continued: first we had the Chris Barber International concert set, recorded over several years in Berlin, Copenhagen, and London, and parallel in-studio series of Band Box LPs (Volume 1, Elite Syncopations, and Best Yet). Given its title, Chris Barber’s Blues Book, Volume One, was clearly intended to be the first of a similar series, although unfortunately no such similar recordings appeared (unless you count the 1964 LP, Good Morning Blues, which saw the Barber Band “go electric” with the permanent addition of John Slaughter on electric blues guitar). Chris Barber’s Blues Book, Volume One was something of a radical departure, too, given its theme of contemporary urban blues and its featuring of Ottilie Patterson on all tracks, showing the strong influence of the music which she and the band had heard “live” in Chicago and elsewhere during the American tours that the band had begun to undertake at the end of the 1950s.