BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Limehouse Blues”


February sure snuck up on us, now didn’t it? Caught me totally by surprise, to be honest, especially when I realized today ws Battle of the Bands day.

“Limehouse Blues” was written in 1922 by the London-based duo of Douglas Furber and Philip Braham. The name refers to the Limehouse district in London, where Chinatown was based, and the lyrics refer (in the fashion of 1922, i.e. horrifying to today’s more delicate sensibilities) to the Chinese influence.

Of course, I’ve selected a couple of instrumental versions, as well as Django Reinhardt’s version with the Quintette du Hot Club de France, so you can get an idea of how it sounds. Don’t vote for this, it’s just an example.

The two versions that are going head to head today are:

Frank Vignola Quartet with Tommy Emmanuel

Joe Pass

All righty, then! You know the drill: listen to both of today’s contestants, decide which one you like better, and leave me a comment below along with an explanation of why you liked it better. Then, if you’d be so kind, go visit everyone else holding a battle today and vote in their contests as well.

I’ll announce the winner of my battle next Wednesday, February 8, so be sure and get your vote in before then. The lines are now open… Best of luck to Frank and Joe!

11 thoughts on “BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Limehouse Blues”

  1. I am late but I have been busy during the week so I listened to both and for me Frank Vignola quartet with Tommy Emmanuel just blew me away. I could found it fun, amazing, beautiful and it placed a smile on my face. When I realized they did the flight of the bumble bee after I watched it and I was gobsmacked( I love that British term) at how fast they were with their fingers! They could not have any type of arthritis that’s for sure. They get my vote


  2. Great song choice, JOHN. In fact, I have ‘Limehouse Blues’ on my list of “Songs To BOTB”, only I was planning to use Django against someone else, so I will probably still use this song again in BOTB someday.

    It amuses me how you and I, more than any other two BOTBers, mine the same material. If I ever quit BOTB, as long as you were still doing it, it would be as if I’d never really left.

    Both renditions here are fantastic! Not an easy choice at all. I could listen to both of these all day long, and although the same tune, each recording would serve for different moods I happened to be in.

    This morning though I am in a JOE PASS mood. Man, that guy was just so groovy and subtly soulful. One of those great guitarists, like Wes, who just somehow said so much (if one listens closely) while making it look so effortless.

    It may be a blowout at this point, but I still think this was a terrific Battle, my friend.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    Check out my new blog @
    (Link:] Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews…


  3. Never heard this one before. I’m giving my vote to the Frank V Quartet. They seemed to be having a really good time with it and that transfers to the listener.

    Michele at Angels Bark


  4. John, Interesting battle. This song seems better suited for the acoustical guitar. The second contender sounded like he was using an electric one plus there was something else that really didn’t set right with my listening pleasure. Not to say it’s a bad cover because it certainly is not. It’s just the mood I’m in, I’m sure. Anywho, I preferred contender #1 in this battle and give my vote to Frank Vignola Quartet with Tommy Emmanuel. You will find my battle, here! Have a good day, my friend. 🙂


  5. This is one of those songs that I’ve heard all of my life and it was old when I first started hearing it–in other words it’s a classic.

    No doubt that Joe Pass is a highly skilled musician, but on this song I prefer that frantic string ensemble version by the Quartet with Tommy.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out


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