Whereas the band accompanying Ida Cox was a septet on the other songs of
these Vocalion sessions, the second song to be recorded, Death Letter Blues,
had only a quartet backing the blues singer. It was a rather atypical instrumental
assembly with Charles on guitar, Lips on trumpet, James P on piano, and Artie
mx 25510-2 (alternate take)
With the ensemble pared down to a quartet on this song, one would expect
Charlie Christian to get more work here but all it has for the guitarist is
some obbligati behind the singer on the first and last choruses.
The first chorus has a good amount of guitar; the last chorus much less so.
mx 25510-1 (master take)
A fifth chorus was added to this take – to either fill the track to a
suitable length for commercial release or, more likely, the vocalist forgot
to sing the middle verse – but that didn’t add any further guitar space to
it than the preceding take.
The guitar on the first chorus is essentially the same as on the earlier
take; the last chorus is different but just as audibly sparse.