Bessie Couldn’t Help It

Louis Armstrong

An underrated classic from 1930

Louis Armstrong recorded so many classics during his career, particularly during 1925-28 (with his Hot Five and Seven) and 1929-32 (heading big bands), that it is not surprising that some of his performances got a bit lost in the shuffle; all are well worth discovering.

“Bessie Couldn’t Help It,” which Armstrong recorded February 1, 1930, features the great trumpeter-vocalist joined by the Luis Russell Orchestra.

In addition to Armstrong’s superb playing, the distinctive trombonist J.C. Higginbotham comes close to stealing the show.

Incidentally, “Bessie Couldn’t Help It” is one of the few numbers that was recorded by both Louis Armstrong and Bix Beiderbecke.

-Scott Yanow

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