Quintet of the Hot Club of France:
I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby
(recorded 1936, reissued c. 1946)



Now I can't give you anything but love, oh, baby-o,
That's the only thing I've plenty of, oh baby.
Dream awhile, scheme awhile, we're sure to find
Baby, happiness, and I guess
(scat: zbam bambozeh, zbambamboodyebedmambamboo etc.)
Gee, I'd like to see you lookin' swell, baby, baby, but oh
Diamond bracelets Woolworth's doesn't sell, my pretty baby (bababoo)
Till that lucky day, oh, you lucky day, you know darn well, oh, babe,
I can't give you anything but love.

Collecting Notes:

On a trip along the east coast of Vancouver Island, we turn off the main highway and take the short leg to Chemainus, a one-time logging community that a few years ago suffered the loss of its main employer, the Horseshoe Bay lumber mill.

In the face of disaster, the town reinvented itself by employing first-rate mural artists to decorate its walls, hosting a professional theatre company and launching other initiatives catering to the tourist industry such as scuba-diving and horse-and-carriage rides, promoting itself as 'The Little Town That Did' (it narrowly escaped being 'The Little Town That Died'). It's a very cute little place with Victoriana gingerbread houses and businesses, neat and friendly, perfect for a stroll on a hot afternoon.

On the way out of town I stop into a big antiques store, but a quick cruise around for 78s leaves me empty-handed. Just as I am about to walk out, the very attractive female assistant asks me if I need help. "Oh, I was looking for old 78s, but I didn't find any," I reply.

"I think there's a few over here," she says, and leads me back to a shelf where about half a dozen of them sit at eye level on a glass shelf, in a wicker basket. I'm just not used to seeing them artistically displayed, my eyes are always on low-beam focus because 78s are almost always to be found on the floor, among the dust-bunnies.

Well, what have we here? Only a 1946 reissue of a 1936 recording of the Quintet of the Hot Club of France (in very good condition) featuring the incomparable gipsy guitarist Django Reinhardt. I had been familiar with the group since my early childhood, since they had been among my mother's favourite artists (a shortlist of which included Louis Armstrong, Maurice Chevalier and Fats Waller. She had a good ear).

"Wow, thank you! This one is awesome," I enthuse. "Hot Club of France!"

"Never heard of it. What kind of music's that?" she asks.

"Jazz," I reply. "Django Reinhardt on guitar, Stéphane Grappelly on violin, and . . ."

"Jazz and violins don't go together," she interrupts firmly. Oh, well, OK. There's no way to play it so she can hear what it sounds like.

So Chemainus is $5 the richer for my visit. And we've spent money on other things: a bottle of red wine, tea and muffins, a book, a jar of hot piccalilli from the British food shop . . .


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