Too Busy, My Old Kentucky Home, Tishomingo Blues, Down Home Rag, The Old Rugged Cross, One Sweet Letter From You, Bogalusa Strut, Snag It, Nobody's Fault But Mine, Home Sweet Home (part).
John Long, who is responsible for most of Ken's recordings from 1971-86, said, regarding Ken's playing, that " by about 1984 autumn and winter followed in quick succession". This CD is of a live session from 1985 recorded by Peter Webber. Despite Ken being in the "winter" of his playing to me it is an essential album to have. The fire may have been going out, but the embers were still burning hot. What Ken lacked in his blowing skills, and complicated by his apparent breathlessness, he makes up for in sheer emotion. This is the man laid naked and raw, and you cannot be unaffected by it. Listen to his breaks on "Too Busy", and "The Old Rugged Cross" to see what I mean, or perhaps listen to the concentrated distillation of emotion on "Tishomingo Blues".
I think the rest of the band should be mentioned for their contribution to what I call a "Classic" album: Dave Bailey, whose controlled yet soaring clarinet, weaves and binds the band's sound together. Les Hanscombe's raggedy doll tailgate trombone; at times riveting and at others disconcerting in its meandering. Tim Phillips on banjo and Keith Donaldson on bass providing a solid and well thought out backing. Then there is John Petters on drums. Not only is he an excellent musician but the balance and clarity (I still have problems accepting that this CD is only Analog/Digital/Digital instead of D/D/D) means that you are able to hear and appreciate his skills to the full.
All the tracks here have been recorded before, but don't let this put you off, as this recording is unique. To me it is the final handshake of an old friend who knows you will not meet again; maybe not as firm as it has been in the past, but with that extra, knowing, squeeze that reminds you of what has gone between you in the past.
CMJ CD 008 1989 10 tracks, 72 min