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Jimmy Rushing (often called "Mr. Five by Five," a reference to his rather rotund dimensions) was a Kansas City blues shouter best known for his 15-year stint with Count Basie's big band. Thus his solo appearance on Ralph J. Gleason's Jazz Casual TV program is a genuine rarity. And the accent is certainly on the "casual." Rushing is obviously delighted to be here; an affable, garrulous raconteur, he so enjoys reminiscing about his childhood in Oklahoma City, his days in Kansas City and with Basie, and so on, that were it not for some gentle, respectful prodding by Gleason, he might not actually do much singing at all. As it is, he relaxes his way through a half-dozen blues numbers, accompanied by his own stride- and boogie-flavored piano. Rushing saves the best for last, talking his way through the prostitute's lament "Trix Ain't Walkin' No More" and finishing up with the hoary "How Long Blues." And then there are his parting words: "The blues will never die." Amen, brother. --Sam GrahamFrom the Back Cover:
Jimmy Rushing is perhaps the finest example of a Kansas City-style blues singer. Best known as a longtime vocalist for the Count Basie Orchestra, Rushing is presented in this program in a rarely seen solo performance and interview. My first experience of Jimmy Rushing was finding a recording of Rushing singing "(I'm Gonna Move To The) Outskirts Of Town" with the Basie Orchestra in my father's record collection when I was around eleven. I've been a fan ever since. Videotaped on September 26, 1962 and first aired on December 30, 1963, in this episode late in Rushing's life, his demeanor is so relaxed, so personal, that a recent viewing of the program brought tears to my father-in-law's eyes. I strongly suspect they were from fond remembrance. I know. It happens to me, too--Toby Gleason.
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