Friday, December 01, 2006

FDF Volume 1 Issue 38: The Brian Setzer Orchestra - The Dirty Boogie

Album - The Dirty Boogie
Artist - The Brian Setzer Orchestra
Key Players - Brian Setzer - guitar/vocals. There are 16+ other members of the Orchestra as well as guest players on a few tracks.
Produced By - Peter Collins

Release Date - June 23, 1998

What caused me to blow off the dust? While making thanksgiving dinner for some reason, out of nowhere I was singing the baritone sax line from Jump Jive an' Wail...(I played baritone sax in high school so I can pick out that line of music..dork I know)

Overview - Formed after the demise of the Stray Cats this is actually the third "orchestra" release. Often referred to the BSO for short the band would gain a lot of mainstream success due to the cover of "Jump Jive an' Wail". The track was used in a successful Gap ad campaign. This record could be viewed as the one that spawned record companies to rush out and sign every possible 'swing' band over the next few months. It was a quick passing fad but all in all this is a pretty solid and fun effort.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The album wastes no time to give you the feel of what is to be expected. "This Cat's On A Hot Tin Roof" opens with the BSO in full "swing" and the rockabilly chime from Brians guitar. "The Dirty Boogie" opens with a drum crash and a "walking" bass line that remains strong and not buried in the mix. The orchestra does some call and response verses between strong orchestral fills. During this track as well Setzer unleashes a trademark solo. Strongly compressed yet still able to pull off a jangle sound from his guitar. "This Old House" has a dirty old country feel to it during the opening guitar line. Once again the Orchestra sings verses and will call out lines. By this point if your toes have not tapped at least once you really need to check your pulse. "Let's Live It Up" musically could be the intro to any late night talk show. Even Brian goes in to vocal range not encountered prior to this track. "Sleepwalk" is the lone instrumental track on the record. It sounds musically similar to "Earth Angel". Overall its a track that is neither a stand out nor a "dud" but it prepares the listener unknowingly for: "Jump Jive 'An Wail" probably the track most folks bought this record for. A raucous, yet true to form, version of the Louis Prima song. There is not a lot this reviewer can add here to sway you one way or the other. Either you get it, or you don't. When reviewing this cd I hit repeat 3 times on this track.. "You're The Boss" is a little mellower affair to this point of the record. Gwen Stefani offers vocal styling on this track. Even if you are not a fan of her she adds a great touch to the track. "Rock This Town" yep this is a BSO version of the Stray Cats song..all 6+ minutes of it. If you are familiar with the song it gets a good full orchestra treatment and a very cool moment occurs towards the end. During the guitar solo Brian actually de-tunes his guitar, yet continues to solo. Its a trick I am sure has been utilized in the past but this was one of the fist times as a music fan I "noticed". The solo is actually pretty great as far as "guitar solos" go. "Since I Don't Have You" follows and still has the swing feel, but its sung more in a crooner style. "Switchblade 327" returns to the rable rouser form that makes this a really rocking gem. This would rock with just three players (guitar/bass/drums) but this version cooks. Opening with a surf style guitar riff its a quick jump in to the swing feel. "Nosey Joe" breaks no new ground at this point in the album but is still a decent up tempo track. "Hollywood Nocturne" is the most skippable track. There is an odd vocal effect on Brians voice and its more a throw away track. "As Long As I'm Singin'"ends the record on a high note. Everything you loved about the previous tracks is here, great guitar work a cooking full orchestra you will be out of breath at the end of this track. There are some really high notes hit by the trumpet players so if you have headphones on be warned!

Odd side bar - Load this cd in to iTunes and the genre that loads up - Jazz.

Where are they now? - The band is still at it today. They seemed to be the first in the swing revival and the last to hang on to larger success. The band released a Christmas album and will often perform on "Tree Lighting" specials on television. The band also tours and has released a live record, 2 DVDs and a best of collection to this date (as well as studio recordings).

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I actually saw them live on this tour. It was a lot of fun and the band really really cooks. I'd see the band live again if given the chance it is just a night of harmless fun and Setzer is a great and underrated guitar player.

FDF Overall Take - For some "swing" can get old fast but its pretty easy to tolerate compared to many other genres of music. Does one need a "lot" of swing records, probably not, but this is a record you can sit down with your grandparents and both snap your fingers along to. Also, the cover freaking rules, why is it never mentioned in "best album cover" polls?



At 9:21 AM, Blogger Sharon S said...

great minds think alike, I guess, March. I used swing muzak, mostly the BSO, for my Spin class this week....

Check out my Spin cycle from this week at:

At 10:11 AM, Blogger Debbie said...

Love this.

At 4:17 PM, Blogger The Guinness Tooth said...

I saw Brian Setzer solo, open for Tom Petty a few years back. He is an amazing guitarist, but so under rated it hurts.

At 5:50 PM, Blogger March to the Sea said...

sharon - that playlist is great!

debbie - thanks.

GT -he is playing Mohegan Sun (or foxwoods soon) might be tempted!

At 12:37 PM, Blogger pog mo thoin said...

I am shaking the martinis and getting this album! I love this stuff!


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