The impetus for our “Satch’s Tracks” series was to share examples of the various types of music found in Louis Armstrong’s record and tape collection; so far we’ve covered Rachmaninoff, Jelly Roll Morton, Bix Beiderbecke, the Beatles, Louis’s own music and more.
But the broader goal of the series is to answer the frequently asked questioned, “What’s on Louis’s tapes?” And as part of the never-ending answer, we’re actually eschewing a musical outing and instead have chosen a spoken word selection for today’s entry: President Abraham Lincoln’s historic “Gettysburg Address.”
As read by Louis Armstrong.
This gem comes from a 1958 tape that is chock full of music–Count Basie’s April in Paris, Coleman Hawkins’s The Hawk in Paris, Berklee College’s Jazz in the Classroom, an Alex Welsh broadcast, a Willis Conover Voice of America broadcast on Armstrong, a Bob Hope-Bing Crosby single, Patti Russo and more–but it’s the Lincoln speech, delivered between the end of the Basie album and Hawkins’s “Chiens Perdus Sans Collier (The Little Lost Dog),” that’s most memorable portion of the tape.
First, here’s how Louis cataloged it:
And here’s the audio:
Louis Armstrong reading Abraham Lincoln–American history doesn’t get any better than that! (And while we’re at it, when can we get Pops on some currency?)