Friday, December 23, 2011

FDF Volume 3 Issue 251 - The Brian Setzer - Boogie Woogie Christmas

Album – Boogie Woogie Christmas
Artist – The Brian Setzer Orchestra
Key Players – Dennis Farias, Kye Palmer, Kevin Norton, Will Murillo – Trumpets. Robbie Hioki – Bass Trombone. Craig Woods, Alex Henderson and George McMullen – Trombones. Don Roberts – baritone saxophone. Ti Misica, Ray Herrmann, Matt Zebley and Jim Youngstrom – Saxophones. John Hatton -bass. Bernie Dresel – drums. Brian Setzer – guitar, vocals.

Produced By – David Darling

Release Date – October 10, 2002

What caused me to blow off the dust? - It is the Christmas season, and who wants the same old same old right?

Overview – Brian Setzer made a name for himself in the 80's Rock-a-billy revival band “The Stray Cats”. After a few years he branched out with his “Orchestra” taking on swing music and finding a second wave of success with hits like the remake of “Jump Jive and Wail”. Setzer surrounds himself with competent players for a fun take on some of the songs of the season.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – The album starts with the old standard “Jingle Bells” but quickly has the swing/poppy bounce to it. You can see and hear the band just snapping fingers and bobbing back and forth. The lyrics are quick and gritty with some fun play on words. Pretty true to the original, but a lot more “full” as you'd expect with an Orchestra treatment. Setzer himself is a great guitar player and has a great short solo before the horns come back in for the final verse. “Boogie Woogie Santa Claus” is a little smoother vocally, but the band is having a great time with the big fills and strong bass line. The drums are kept it check so the horns really stand out. There is a saxophone solo mid song that the trumpets seem to get ignited by before Setzer takes a solo. “Winter Wonderland” is true to form, with the BSO twing to it. Setzer starts singing without much accompaniment, before the horns come in. Setzer has a longer, and earlier guitar solo before making way for the saxophone solo. The bass work from Hatton continues to be very strong and right up in the mix. Another classic comes in “Blue Christmas”. Setzer works with a percussive background and background singers rather than being surrounded by the band for the first verse and in to the second. Its not until the second verse is done do we hear a guitar section that lays nicely over the percussive back beat. Setzer has enough fun he continues the solo. The solo is strong, and to the point. The harmonies return at the start of “Santa Claus is Back in Town”. Once the verse begins Setzer has more of a growl to his voice, really reaching down with the 12 bar blues there for the dissection. The horns are back with full effect and seem to really come at the right time with big fills and then fade, before doing it all over again. The lyrics are sung slowly with, as noted, heavy feel for the blues. Ann-Margret joins in a duet on “Baby It's Cold Outside”. Ann begins the singing and its hushed with her taking the lead and Setzer offering a line here and there underneath her. The band is hardly in the mix as the two trade lines. You can hear brushes on the snare drum and a muted horn, to a strum of guitar, but we are focused on the vocals. Setzer has a short solo before the lyrics start up again. It repeats the style for the duration. “The Nutcracker Suite” is an instrumental medley of selections from the Nutcracker. It has the big band touch which really perks the track up fun. “(everybody's waitin' for) The Man with the Bag” has a staggered vocal delivery with focus on the downbeats and the horns are bright and round out the sound. The horns and saxophones again take solo runs which is refreshing and the band is able to showcase their talents. “Sleigh Ride” will have you longing for this version all the time. It just has your feet really moving and the horn accents are tight. Miss the whip cracks, but I'll take the saxophones for a nice mix up. “So They Say It's Christmas” begins with a flamenco style guitar and Setzer is very “loungy” in this vocal delivery. Tracks like this can throw off a listener of the whole record as it is very different than the others. The plus side is the diversity of the band, able to speed up/slow down and still sound great. “O Holy Night” has Setzer on guitar with a choir singing behind him. He does the first verse alone, and the second verse as just rim shots dropped in. Still has the BSO vibe, but also a pretty straight forward version (for these guys). “The Amens” closes out the record and it is just shy of a one minute track. It has a church feel to it, not the big swing track you'd think as an album closer. Pretty and nice, but sorta odd at the same time to close the record out with.

FDF Overall Take – You get the traditional, and not traditional all spend up and “swung” out. For all its good parts it does get old fast though. Toss a song on a holiday mix though, to perk things up.

Official site is here

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Jingle Bells
Nutcracker Suite

Looks like you can still track the album down

Friday, December 09, 2011

FDF Volume 3 Issue 250 - Northside - Chicken Rhythms

By: March

Album – Chicken Rhythms
Artist - Northside
Key Players – Warren Dermody – vocals. Timmy Walsh – guitar. Cliff Ogier – bass. Paul Walsh – drums.
Produced By – Ian Broudie

Release Date - 1991

What caused me to blow off the dust? - All this talk of the Stone Roses re-forming have me being a little nostalgic for music of the time.

Overview – Formed in 1989 this is the lone release from Manchester, England's “Northside”. They'd blend shoe-gaze with dream pop and be placed under a “rave scene” band as well.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – The full band comes right in at the start of “Take 5”. After a few runs Paul Walsh runs the percussive instruments and Tim Walsh chimes on his guitar. Ogier has a swooping bass line, but the tambourine and jangly guitar really stand out. Dermody doesn't start to sing until after a good minute, leaving the listener with a wall of music to absorb. It has the Manchester sound of the era, deep bass lines and ringing guitars. The band as a cool break down mid song with Ogier and Paul Walsh getting to show off some, before the chorus returns. Very strong, solid opener. “Weight of Air” has another bright start with Ogier leading out of the gate with a punctuated bass line before the Walsh boys join in. The vocals are a little less frantic than the opener, they lean back to a bit more of the atmospheric approach. Timmy Walsh finds a real bright jingle to his guitar as “Funky Munky” starts. Paul and Ogier jump on board for a fun romp as the song seems to bounce forward playfully. Ogier has the bass high in the mix and Paul seems to keep his drum strikes in check moving forward with ease. “A Change is On Its Way” finds Paul rolling across his cymbals as Timmy lightly strums. After a few rolls Paul gets things moving a long some and Ogier finds his place on the bass. Dermody is still a little hushed, not really pushing himself rather giving a full baritone delivery of the lyrics. Listening on headphones they phase between the headphone speakers and it almost dis-orients the listener. I don't ever recall hearing this or feeling this way. The song actually seems to fall apart in the later sections before it kicks back around, but its not overly exciting. “Yeah Man” really shows off Ogier on the bass. He chugs out this quick bass line and the Walsh’s do what they can to keep up it seems. Timmy gets to have a few quick runs on the guitar after Dermody just says “Yeah Man”!! It is a psychedelic romp if you will. Hard to use those two together, but the guitar and drums have one feel, but the bass gives you a total different view. Its largely an instrumental track with only the songs title being shouted out. We slow it down again on “Tour De World”. Dermody has a more “breathy” vocal delivery on this track and it also feels like Timmy has his first real guitar solo, a wah-wah infused jam that is far too short. Ogier gets to play along with the birds as “Wishful Thinking” starts up. Timmy comes up with some light guitar strums before Paul comes on drums. A trippy, slow, almost plodding track, but it somehow has a bright feel to it. The longer guitar section at the end is a nice touch. The track that got me to buy the record comes in “Shall We Take A Trip”. Dermody says “L”, “S”, “D” as Timmy strikes the guitar. What unfolds as the band comes in is nothing short of Madchester nostalgia. Harbor to guess anyone that was in to this genre recalls this song. A tripped out drug infused track that finds the band really moving along. Timmy is all over his guitar but its Ogier finding a really solid bass line that keeps this tune on track. A true time capsule moment of a track. The short wah-wah portion with just the drums for 20-30 seconds gets me every time and Dermody calls out “Baaaaaasss guitar” and Ogier comes in with his hook, great stuff! “Who's To Blame” is again another slower feeling track than the one prior, but that can't fool you. The guitar riffs blend with an acoustic guitar and Paul Walsh seems to be in a contest with Ogier for who can keep better time with more of punch of their role. Lets call this a draw. We get raging again as “Practise Makes Perfect” takes off. The band is tight and really on task. You may not think of “tight” when you think of bands from this era, or genre, but they are. The album wraps up with “My Rising Star”. Paul Walsh rumbles across his drum kit before Timmy comes in with big ringing chords. Ogier plays along with his usual tight bass lines and Dermody is hushed and breathy, perfect for the vibe of the closing track.

Where are they now? - There is not a lot of information. A lone record before the internet took off sort of limits and web pages and the like. If anyone has any information, please feel free to comment it up. I for one am curious!

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) – I never saw the band live. I am not even sure the band toured the States?

FDF Overall Take – If you like the “Madchester” scene you will be right at home. The probably just slipped under your radar. Based of what you may have heard at the time it may feel like the same old same old, but they had some really great ideas and production work pulling the bass and drums up is really strong.

A myspace page.

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Shall We Take a Trip

Friday, December 02, 2011

FDF Volume 3 Issue 249 - The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - Let's Face It

By: March

Album- Let's Face It

Artist – The Mighty Mighty Bosstones

Key Players – Joe Sirois -drums. Dennis Brockenborough – trombone, backing vocals. Kevin Lenear – saxophone, backing vocals. Tim “Johnny Vegas” Burton – saxophone, backing vocals. Joe Gittleman – bass guitar, backing vocals. Nate Albert – guitar, backing vocals. Dicky Barrett – lead vocals. Ben Carr – dancer/bosstone

Produced By – Paul Q. Kolderie and Sean Slade

Release Date – March 11, 1997

What caused me to blow off the dust? - The band is due to play a local show, and was surprised I hadn't actually talked about this record yet for the site.

Overview – Formed in 1983 the Boston based ska punk band Mighty Mighty Bosstones (Also called simply Bosstones) found influence in the 2 Tone Ska scene coming out of England in the late 1970's. They'd seem to struggle in the underground scene with light album sales, but a fevered live show and ravenous following would keep the band active. They'd catch their biggest break with the release of this record. The album would have three singles, all that would chart on billboard charts and the album would go platinum in the US. They'd go on hiatus after 2003 and reformed in 2007 where they remain active releasing albums, singles and occasionally touring.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – The 12 song, just a bit over 30 minute album begins with “Noise Brigade”. Sirois gets things rolling and the smooth bass line from Gittleman joins. The horns blaze in and Barrett is off to the races. He has a gruff/gravel voice but sings to be light on himself almost having a bubbly pop song vibe, before it skanks it up good. The horns add a real punch and are not overused. The band has a slower interlude with various vocals coming in before Barrett launches in to the final verse. A song that would eventual make its way in to the top 10 (#7 peak) on the Alternative charts is “The Rascal King”. Again the bass and horns are the focus at the start. Gittleman has a high punch to his drum, almost a piccolo snare drum”ping” to them being struck. Musically the band is tight and focused. Albert has some lighter guitar fills but the horns and the duo of Sirois and Gittleman seem to be the showcase. Gittleman is all over the bass with a wonderful walking bass line. Rather than a guitar solo there is a horn section that leads to a cool organ section as well. “Royal Oil” also charted (at #22) and seems a little mellower than what we've heard. Sirois slowly rolls off the drums and the track is just a more laid back vibe. The horns do punch through but the ping of the snare seems to really ring out over and over. The big single from the record comes in “The Impression That I Get”. Albert gets to lead off with his choppy guitar riff and is joined with the horns bass and drums. Again Gittleman really shines on the bass. Really listen to the bass line the next time you hear this track (see below) and I think you'll be impressed. The gruff sing along chorus gets even the stuffiest of stiff shirts fist pumping and pogo dancing wherever there is room. A solid track that still sounds great.. “Let's Face It” keeps things moving right along. The band never seems to slow things down, as they have found what works for them. There is some light organ fills again on this track. Albert has a quick and distorted guitar solo and then Brockenborough gets a quick shining moment on a strong, albeit short trombone section. Feeling far more punk at the outset “That Bug Bit Me” finds Albert riffing fast and hard with Sirois playing along just about as fast. Up to this point the fastest track on the record. The horns don't appear until the second verse and provide longer tones rather than fills. Barrett has a particular howl to his voice on the track. A great barn burner of a track. Clocking in at an astounding 3:50 “Another Drinkin' Song” follows. This is the longest track on the record starts off almost smooth with the horns taking the forefront. Barrett is much more laid back and Sirosis and Gittleman provide the simple back beat. Albert throws a few guitar riffs, but noting overly flashy. About the 2 minute mark the track seems to change direction and gets interesting with the band really firing off one another. It has this really “full” sound to these ears as well, before Barrett mellows things out, but by then the band is right there for the sing along choruses. Alberts guitar punches the speakers as
“Numbered Days” begins. The band all come in urgently but when Barrett starts to sing it backs off some. There is some slick production here with the loud to quiet and back aesthetic, but it really works. “Break So Easily” starts quieter with Albert playing a few light notes, but don't be fooled. Brockenborough leads the charge with the horns in to the verse. Parts of the verses are spoken rather than sung, and when sung it seems like the whole band is right in your face. It gets loud, urgent and almost frantic. Barrett is gruff again (more than usual) and you almost feel your own throat hurting after listening. Sirois quickly gets “Nevermind Me” rolling. Gittleman has heavy compressed distortion on his bass but the horns steal the show again. The horns chip right through sometimes with longer notes, others with short 16th note precision. The horns hit like a machine gun. We keep the speed up with “Desensitized” and the closer “1-2-8”. If you feet don't move on these two tracks, I really can't help.

Where are they now? - The band is still active but on a lighter schedule. They will play a few shows a year. The band is slated to release a new record on December 6, 2011 called “The Magic of Youth”. Dicky Barrett is the announcer for the Jimmy Kimmel Live late night show. Bassist Joe Gittleman, Tim Burton and Ben Carr have been the other consistent members of the band.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) – Actually have seen the band live three times. Considering they are a “Boston” band it could be seen as being a little too low. The first time was July 25, 1995 as part of Lollapalooza. They then did two shows are part of the WBCN River Rave at the Tweeter/Comcast/Great Woods on June 7 and 8, 1997. They headlines those two shows over Foo Fighters and Porno for Pyros. A true homecoming indeed.

FDF Overall Take – Have to admit it has been some time since I played this record front to back. Its really pretty great. If you like the style enough this is well worth your time. Its fun, uptempo and overall really great. There is a reason it sold well. Chance are you have a copy, dust it off..if not check out some of the clips. It has been too long.

Official Page
myspace page

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

The Impression That I Get
Royal Oil
Rascal King
Rascal King Live

The album appears to still be in print. You can grab one here