Blue Plate Special
A Night Out With…
I’m tempted to pass this neo-swing album off as a day late and a dollar short, but there are actually a couple moments that make Blue Plate Special worth your while. Not only are the members of this group at least relatively well-trained in their instruments, but the band isn’t asking for an early demise by adhering strictly to a swing format like some others in the genre. In fact, there are a few moments where the early jazz interests of these guys shine through, specifically with the pianist and his Count Basie influence. A little grease from the Glen Miller Orchestra seeps through as well, but hey… they did pack the place in their heyday.
So, no, I’m afraid to tell you that each and every song on this album couldn’t be played over the PA to a warmed-up crowd at a transformed swing club. In fact, I don’t know if these songs were written with the intention of getting the newly purchased zoot suits out on the floor, as they almost seem to emphasize the song structure and vocals more than a constant mindless accenting on the second and fourth beats. There is, however, a song called “Tango of Sorrow” that just might make for a great tango evening.
Blue Plate Special does fall occasionally to the game plan of Royal Crown Revue, writing lyrics in a painful attempt to sound like they’re actually from the dawn of this jump blues game. However, their catchy song-writing abilities and melodic sound will keep your fingers snapping for days to come. This is, more than anything, the listener’s version of neo-swing. I have a feeling that, given a little more time to mature, Blue Plate Special might be able to break the barrier and morph themselves into longer-lived band than the pop-up genre might allow for. At least, that’s what they sound like.
Slimstyle Records, 3400 E. Speedway, Suite 118-272, Tuscon, AZ 85716