Tony Bennett and Count Basie – We Was Wrong about Strike Up The Band

More of the Music of Tony Bennett

More of the Music of Count Basie

Years ago we thought the Emus reissues were the best sounding pressings of this album, but We Was Wrong and we don’t mind admitting it. We live and learn just like anybody else who plays different pressings of their favorite albums in search of better sounding versions.

We don’t know it all and we’ve never claimed to. Having done shootouts for thousands upon thousands of titles, we’re bound to make mistakes from time to time. What could be more predictable?

Our erroneous comment from years back went a little something like this:

The originals we have played are uniformly horrible sounding compared to these wonderful reissues – the tonality here is Right On The Money.

The originals tend to be harsh and shrill, and on a big band record like this one, that is simply not a sound that can be tolerated, much less enjoyed.

But the right originals do not have those problems, and those are the ones we offer our customers, along with the better pressings on Emus.

Findings Overturned

We’re so used to the conventional wisdom being wrong, and having our own previous findings overturned by new ones, that in listing after listing we take the time to point out just how wrong we were. (And of course why we think we are correct now.)

A common misperception among those visiting the site is that we think we know it all. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We learn something new about records with practically every shootout.

The boilerplate below is still true. The modern cutting equipment did a good job, but not as good as the old cutting equipment that Roulette had been using.

Old and New Work Well Together

This reissue is spacious, open, transparent, rich and sweet. It’s yet another remarkable disc from the Golden Age of Vacuum Tube Recording Technology, with the added benefit of mastering using the more modern cutting equipment of the ’60s and ’70s. We are of course here referring to the good modern mastering of 40+ years ago, not the dubious modern mastering of today.

The combination of old and new works wonders on this title as you will surely hear for yourself on these superb sides.

We were impressed with the fact that these pressings excel in so many areas of reproduction. What was odd about it — odd to most audiophiles but not necessarily to us — was just how rich and Tubey Magical the reissue can be on the right pressing.

This leads me to think that most of the natural, full-bodied, lively, clear, rich sound of the album is on the tape, and that all one has to do to get that vintage sound on to a record is simply to thread up the tape on the right machine and hit play.

The fact that practically nobody seems to be able to make a record that sounds this good nowadays tells me that I’m wrong to think that such an approach would work. In our experience that is rarely the case in the modern world of vinyl reissues, and has been that way for many years.


Side One

I Guess I’ll Have To Change My Plans 
With Plenty Of Money And You 
Anything Goes 
Life Is A Song

Side Two

I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face 
Jeepers Creepers 
Growing Pains 
Poor Little Rich Girl 
Are You Having Any Fun

AMG 4 1/2 Star Review

Tony Bennett recorded two albums with Count Basie and His Orchestra under a contractual agreement giving one of the records to Bennett’s label, Columbia, and the other to Basie’s, Roulette. The Columbia album, In Person!, was released once, while the Roulette album, initially issued under the title Strike Up The Band, has been re-released by various labels under various titles endlessly. This is one of those reissues, and while one may deplore the duplicitous marketing scheme, the pairing between Bennett and Basie remains impressive.

The band raves through tunes like “With Plenty Of Money And You,” and Bennett matches them, drawing strength from the bravura arrangements, while band and singer achieve a knowing tenderness on “Growing Pains.” This is an album well worth owning; just make sure you don’t buy it twice.

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