Seriously, listen to the difference between the 1929 Waller session and the 1952 Condon All Stars...
1) The 1929 Waller recording was an original composition, not a rehashed version of an overplayed 1918 ODJB tune.
2) For Fat's marvellous piano solo, he deliberately turns the beat around AND swings... (that's probably why the band didn't have a bass in it....) This is true virtuoso stuff! Talk to a stride piano player about this technique and you'll probably find out that most would consider it to be impossibly difficult!
3) The riff the horns play near the end... so exciting!
4) Eddie Condon is totally audible at all times, and his aggressive strumming style matches the horns perfectly. In addition, he constantly varies his sound to keep things interesting and fit in with whatever the horns are doing.
There is a story about "Minor Drag" which I share with my jazz students and now with you all - I first read it in Bill Crow's must-have book "Jazz Anecdotes".
Ralph Peer had advanced Fats some $$ for a recording session. Knowing Fats well-earned reputation for not taking such commitments seriously enough, Peer also hired Eddie Condon to assure that Fats would arrive with a well-rehearsed and organized group. Condon introduced himself to Waller and got his verbal agreement to the recording date later in the week. For days, Fats was evasive. Finally the night before the recording session, Eddie met Fats at Connie's Inn to finalize the plans but Fats first invited Condon to share in a drink with him. When they both awoke in Connie's the following morning, it was nearly 10:30...and the recording session was scheduled for noon. They picked up some of the other session musicians in a cab and while en route, Fats hummed and described to his fellow musicians the concept and pattern of two tunes, including the minor blues he had planned. At 11:50, the musicians arrived at the recording hall. After recording the two sides Ralph Peer told Condon, "This is an excellent example of the wisdom of planning and preparation."
As a final note, Victor Records originally released the tunes with the A/B side labels reversed - "Minor Drag" mislabeled as "Harlem Fuss" and vice versa.
On these sides he (and/or fellow plectrum player Jack Bland) play the "Vega lute" which seems to have been basically a mandolin body with a plectrum banjo neck...
Our resident jazz history professor may be able to tell us exactly who, but some long forgotten jazz critic once called this some of the best rhythm guitar work in recorded jazz history up to that date...
Maggie (Phillis and Eddie's second daughter has the Gibson Plectrum now (there were a few other Tenors that Eddie had also). She is trying to put together an Eddie Condon Museum -- without much success as of yet. Eddy Davis