Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys: Take the 'A' Train
Take the 'A' Train
Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys
The Tiffany Transcriptions (Collectors' Choice 991)
Tiny Moore (electric mandolin), Johnny Cuviello (drums), Bill Jack Wills (bass).
Composed by Billy Strayhorn.
Recorded: San Francisco, August 30, 1947
Rating: 88/100 (learn more)
Just take the A Train, if you want to get to a hoedown in a hurry. . .
On the Tiffany Transcriptions, which capture Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys on a series of post-WWII radio broadcasts, the band goes beyond its "Western Swing" stylings and shows off the full range of its repertoire, covering signature songs from Count Basie, Benny Goodman and this swing tune from Duke Ellington's orchestra. This is a lighthearted version of "Take the 'A' Train" with hoots and hollers and a running commentary from Mr. Wills, who comes across like the caller at a square dance. Like many of the Tiffany tracks, this one emphasizes the strings to good effect, and the end result is like a cowboy version of Django's band, an expanded Quintette du Hot Club de Texas. I didn't know the New York subway line went that far, but this is one ride that's worth an extra token.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia