The Johnny Hodges-Wild Bill Davis Project, Vol. 4. BLUE HODGE (LP). This out-of-print LP (which has not yet been reissued on CD) is the earliest of several matchups between altoist Johnny Hodges and organist Wild Bill Davis. With the assistance of Les Spann on guitar and flute, bassist Sam Jones and drummer Louis Hayes, Hodges and Davis mostly stick to fresh material, including three then-recent originals by Gary McFarland. Highlights include "Azure Te," "It Shouldn't Happen to a Dream" and "There Is No Greater Love," in addition to some swinging blues.
Altoist Johnny Hodges and organist Wild Bill Davis made quite a few records together during the 1960s, although each of their efforts had slightly different personnel. In the case of this long out-of-print Verve LP, they are assisted by trombonist Lawrence Brown, guitarist Grant Green, bassist Richard Davis, drummer Ben Dixon and, on three numbers, pianist Hank Jones. With the exception of "Take the 'A' Train" and the two ballads "The Nearness of You" and "Peg O' My Heart," the material (including three Hodges originals and Duke Ellington's "Imbo") is quite obscure. The group always swings, and it is interesting to hear Hodges in this setting; pity that this LP's music has not yet been reissued on CD.
The bullets fly fast and thick in this rip-roaring shoot-'em-up starring Constance Bennett, Bruce Cabot and Warren William. When city slicker Harry Farrel (William) learns that the ranchers of Powder River, Wyoming, never filed claim to their spreads, he heads west to kick them out and seize control of their land. Accompanied by gambler Belle Andrews (Bennett), Farrel proceeds with his scheme despite the presence of Wild Bill Hickok (Cabot), who's in town to visit a friend. Unable to buy the valley's water rights, Farrel resorts to frame-ups and murder, acts that force Wild Bill to strap on his guns and show how he got his name.
Belle Andrews' (Constance Bennett) gambling hall burns down in the Chicago fire of 1871 and, now penniless, she accepts Jim Farrel's (Warren William) invitation to accompany him to Powder River, Montana, to open a gambling casino. Farrel has plans to get control of all the land in Powder River by hiring henchmen to file claims on the land, a proceeding overlooked by the settlers. On the stagecoach to Powder River, they meet Wild Bill Hickok (Bruce Cabot).