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Baker's Dozen

Escape To The Country: Willy Vlautin Of Richmond Fontaine's Favourite LPs
John Freeman , April 6th, 2016 09:55

Following the release of Richmond Fontaine's tenth and final album, You Can't Go Back If There Is Nothing To Go Back To, the singer and author talks to John Freeman about his favourite albums of storytelling escapism

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Louis Armstrong – Butter And Eggman
It is hard to find a definitive Armstrong record. He's not known – and from what I have read about him, I don't think it was necessarily his fault – for making his definitive record. There is no Armstrong's equivalent of Kind Of Blue. I don't think he was geared that way. He just toured all the time. Everyone knows that he is one of the best trumpet players ever and an amazing musician on all fronts.

I love him as a singer. There is something about hearing Louis Armstrong sing that makes the world seem a little less fucked up, but many of the Hot Fives & Sevens collections don't show him off as a singer.

On this record, that I like so much, he does duets with a great trombone player called Jack Teagarden. Jack Teagarden is like my uncle – I love him so much that when I went to New Orleans, I visited the place where he died. Jack Teagarden's voice is like if you had an uncle that could sing really well but drank too much. He has a really Southern, laid-back way of singing that sounds like he already had half a pint of whisky before he started. So he would do these duets with Armstrong and they are amazing. They are all classic tunes on this record – but their duet 'Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans' is truly amazing.

I got into Armstrong in my 20s, when I bought a Hot Fives & Sevens record. Then I heard 'Black And Blue', which is an incredible song about race. When I heard that, I started buying his records wherever I went. Butter And Eggman is the real 'gateway' for getting into Armstrong, even down to the final track, 'Onkel Satchmo's Lullaby', which is a really creepy duet with a German kid. You should check that out on YouTube.

Everywhere I go, I try to tell my friends to buy Armstrong records. Some of my cool friends just think of Armstrong as just 'What A Wonderful World' and I think Butter And Eggman is a good place to start if you like the way he sings. It's a perfect record; it has great musicianship and shows up what an amazing singer he was. I put the record on this list because I love Jack Teagarden so much. I scour the earth for Jack Teagarden records, hoping to find one ballad I haven't heard by him. So, this was a chance to talk about Teagarden as well.


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