The delightful trumpet intro of 8:50 opener St. Louis Blues, the highlight of the album, sets the smooth, relaxed tone for what is to follow. After two and a half minutes Velma Middleton enters with the fantastic line “I hate to see that evening sun go down”, later to be joined by the distinctive voice of Louis Armstrong. This is a record that takes its time.
Armstong’s laughter, which can be heard throughout the album, and the cheeky trombone on Long Gone (From Bowling Green) give the record a fun atmosphere and it is clear the All Stars enjoyed making it. Beale Street Blues is a lovely track and the following instumental Ole Miss Blues is great to tap your feet to. With its long, slow brass solos, delicately soft drumming and the occasional tingle of a piano, Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy is a relaxing listen. Great background music for a dinner party.