Swing This, Baby!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard that swing music has made a major comeback. All of a sudden, everyone’s got a swing comp out, and most of `em are simple get-rich-quick schemes; they’re either made up of the same old-school Glen Miller/Count Basie/Les Brown, etc. tracks that have been released a million times before and can be picked up for a song from their copyright holders (or have lapsed into the public domain), or they’re simply haphazardly thrown together jobs that some marketing department cooked up, throwing on any band that wears suits and has a horn section (no lie, just last week, I saw a comp with the Mighty Mighty Bosstones on it. I have to wonder if those boys even know about it).
Of course, this process is nothing new; two years ago, the same thing was happening with the explosion of ska comps, which is how the general public came to believe that bands like 311 and Sugar Ray were playing ska, but I digress. The point is, there aren’t many comps out there that do a good job of showcasing the young, modern bands that are playing the real swing sound. Swing This, Baby! is an exception to that rule, as Swing Time Magazine brings together 15 of the strongest bands on the modern scene.
Of course, the big names of the swing revival — Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, Brian Setzer Orchestra, Royal Crown Revue — are all here, and their tracks aptly show why they’ve found such a strong following (except for RCR’s, which is a lackluster live track). The big news here is the volume of really strong tracks from lesser-known bands. I was particularly taken with the fun ’50s rock feel of Steve Lucky and the Rhumba Bums’ “Rumpus Room Honeymoon,” the skilled horn work on Blue Plate Special’s “Night Out,” the rave-up “We Still Talk the Way Lovers Do” from the Johnny Favourite Swing Orchestra, the rootsy, jump-jazz sound of the Bill Elliott Swing Orchestra on “Bill’s Bounce,” and the boppy feel of Swingerhead’s “Pick Up the Phone,” but there’s something here for any taste.
Great tracks from the New Morty Show, Bellevue Cadillac, the Big Six, Red & the Red Hots, Crescent City Maulers, and the originally named Flying Neutrinos round out a great collection. I’ll admit I’m getting a little worn out on all the swing hype, but a collection chock full of great music like this goes a long way toward restoring my faith and enthusiasm. Swing This, Baby! is a sure-fire winner. Slimstyle Records, 3400 E. Speedway, Suite 118-272, Tucson, AZ 85716; http://www.slimstyle.com