[Dixielandjazz] Wild and Wild -- Bill Davison
stevevoce at virginmedia.com
Sat Oct 13 05:42:38 EDT 2018
With regard to your last paragraph, you under-rate Charlie Shavers at
your peril. He was one of the most gifted players ever. Wild Bill wasn't
remotely in his class as a technician, but Bill didn't need any more
technique to achieve the emotional wallop that he did. Enthusiasts
should look out for the wonderful album that he made in Czechoslovakia.
Back in the Fifties I wrote a piece called "Don't Shoot, We're
American", which was republished in several books. These are a couple of
paragraphs from it. ("Town" is Liverpool, where I live. At that period
Britain had draconian laws about the time of day that one could buy a
"The Eddie Condon mob arrived in town at the unappropriate time of
eleven o'clock on a Sunday morning. They kicked and stumbled their way
off the train through a pile of empty whiskey bottles - "travellin'
high" is the phrase, I believe -n and began soliciting porters for
directions to the nearest bar. They were told that all bars were closed,
and their bleary faces paled as though the Wall Street Crash had just
Finally we persuaded them to bridge the gap until opening time with
lunch at a Chinese restaurant, although this was an obvious breach of
etiquette - Wil Bill pointed out that he never took food on an empty
Once inside the restaurant Condon and Davison each produced a half of
Scotch (how the bottles survived the journey is a mystery). Bill placed
his on his table with great deliberation, causing much concern to the
management. "No drinking please, yes?" asked the manager hopefully.
"No," agreed Bill, opening the bottle. "You got glasses?"
After a lot of argument glasses were provided ("You drink water,
yes?" "No," agreed Bill politely) and the contents of the bottles began
to disappear into the well-oiled systems of Messrs. Condon and Davison.
The restaurant was fairly crowded and we had beenb unable to get
adjacent tables. I was seated with Bill while Condon and his associates
were at the other end of the room.
Bill ordered a fruit salad as a concessionj to the management to show
that he hadn't simply come to use their glasses. I believe he did
actually eat some of it, but don't remember. I do remember the whiskey
disappearing with an impressive swiftness, and from the other end of the
room the voices of Condon and George Wettling were raised in mortal
debate over who was going to finish the bottle. Finally the Davison meal
Bill wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and got to his feet.
"A lot of people think Eddie Condon is an asshole," he announced loudly.
The diners fell silent. The manager, with commendable tact, dropped
behind the cash-desk as though he had been pole-axed.
Condon, looking like a miniature but very angry bull, slowly lifted
himself from his chair at the othern end of the room. "How's that
again?" he asked.
"I saida lot of people think Condon's an asshole." A Chinese
waitress stopped in full flight with two dishes of chow-mein. "But it's
not true," Bill continued. Condon began to sit down. .
"He's */two /*assholes." He sat down, beaming
>> And Bill's playing was such as to counter certain aspects of the
>> stock string ensemble which generally puts me off (I bought the
>> Charlie Shavers one because it was very cheap, not to mention the
>> fact that the liner made no mention of the stringorchestra...).
>> I hope Gabriel likes Bill's music!
>> Robert R. Calder
>> To unsubscribe or change your e-mail preferences for the Dixieland
>> Jazz Mailing list, or to find the online archives, please visit:
>> Dixielandjazz mailing list
>> Dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com
> To unsubscribe or change your e-mail preferences for the Dixieland Jazz Mailing list, or to find the online archives, please visit:
> Dixielandjazz mailing list
> Dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com
This email has been checked for viruses by Avast antivirus software.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the Dixielandjazz