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Ben Pollack: If I Could Be with You One Hour Tonight

March 2, 2010

Jack Teagarden, from

Ben Pollack and His Orchestra:
If I Could Be with You One Hour Tonight

Recorded in 1930

Ben Pollack week continues with a record featuring one of the most famous voices in jazz. Jack Teagarden sprung fully formed from the head of Zeus in 1927, and here he is in 1930 sounding exactly the way he would sound for the rest of his career.

“If I Could Be with You One Hour Tonight” was one of Teagarden’s signature pieces, and this is his first recording of it. He had obviously become a popular vocalist with Ben Pollack’s band, because this number is arranged specifically to show off his unique singing voice. He sings exactly the same way he plays the trombone, with the same rich tone and easy phrasing. Teagarden would continue to use this arrangement of the tune, adapted to various sizes of bands, as long as he played it.

Ben Pollack seems to have lost his Victor recording contract by this time. This side was recorded for Banner, a cheap back-street label that used cheap materials in its pressings. The record was played a lot by its first owner, and the wear on the cheap shellac shows. The surface noise is louder than I’d like, but the music comes through well enough.


From → Hot Dance, Jazz

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