cream of the crate: cd review #46 – big bad voodoo daddy : self titled [big bad voodoo daddy]
cream of the crate: cd review #46 – big bad voodoo daddy : self titled [big bad voodoo daddy]
CD Cover – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

  This review was originally posted on the first Toorak Times web site where publications ceased on that site in March 2017. The old site will be permanently closed in 2020 and these reviews are being re-published in order to preserve them on the current Toorak Times/Tagg site.

 

 

 

"They’re currently the greatest swing band in the entire world" - (Shea Conner - News-Press review - January 2013) " _ A real hot item" - (John Reed - music-critic.com)

Cream Of The Crate Reviews 1 to 50 were vinyl album reviews.  
The following fifty reviews (51 - 100) were originally marked as CD Reviews 1 - 50
and this numbering has been kept to keep consistency with the published CD reviews.

 

This is number forty six in the series of retro-reviews of Cd albums in my collection.

The series is called,
“Cream of The Crate (CD’s)”, and they represent CD albums that I believe are of significant musical value, either because of their rarity, because they represent the best of a style or styles of music or because there is something unique about the group or the music.

The name of the group is the Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and the CD is Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. It was released on the EMI Capitol label in 1998 and its code is 72434-93338-2-6.

 

cream of the crate: cd review #46 – big bad voodoo daddy : self titled [big bad voodoo daddy]
CD Label – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

The Cd has 12 tracks on it for a total of 55 minutes. What is of interest to me is that the group originally released a vinyl album under this name, on its own label in 1994 – but finding references let alone a copy, isn’t easy.

Now generally if you get into a conversation about Big Band “Swing Music”, most music aficionado’s will start talking of the likes of Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Artie Shaw, Jimmy Dorsey, Lionel Hampton, and, the list could go on.

It was a major and incredibly popular style of music from the 1920’s through to the 1940’s.

“Swing” became one of the many derivations of the broader category of Jazz. However post WWII found Swing becoming less popular as the likes of Dizzy Gilespie, Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich took jazz into a new dimension.

Yet for all intents and purposes, with the rise of Rock & Roll and then the English Beat Music, jazz became less popular, although never dying away.

Some would say it just hide in the darker corners of clubs until the Afro Revival in the 1970’s found a kindred soul; when jazz and “African style” music fused. 

By the late 1980’s there was a distinct, if not short lived, swing music revival.

Groups such as the Big Bad Voodoo Daddy were joined by other revival groups such as the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies as this form of Swing became known as Neo-Swing.

By the 1990’s other groups such as fronted by Brian Seltzer took up the “swing-thing” as mostly an underground movement, though exposure through movies such as 1993’s Swing Kids and The Mask (whose hit soundtrack featured both Royal Crown Revue and the Brian Setzer Orchestra).

So it was that this style of music was introduced to a wider audience.

It’s revival in the US began to wane as more basic forms of electro-music became the dominant style in clubs. However, in Europe the Swing Revival continued and provided venues and an audience.

cream of the crate: cd review #46 – big bad voodoo daddy : self titled [big bad voodoo daddy]
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy – One of the best Neo-swing bands – [CLICK to enlarge]
The story of the Big Bad Voodoo Daddy band is best told by a press release on their web site.

By now the world knows the essential story of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. The band co founded by Morris and drummer Kurt Sodergren made their debut in their hometown of Ventura, California in April of 1993 helping to usher in the swing revival founded on a colorful fusion of classic American sounds including jazz, swing, and dixieland mixed with the energy and spirit of contemporary culture.

They proved to be among the standout groups that launched the new swing era in the 90’s.

The group, whose core lineup has been in place since 1995, includes Scotty Morris (lead vocals and guitar), Kurt Sodergren (drums and percussion), Dirk Shumaker (double bass and vocals), Andy Rowley (baritone saxophone and vocals), Glen “The Kid” Marhevka (trumpet), Karl Hunter (saxophones and clarinet) and Joshua Levy (piano and arranger.) 

Joining them on the road are Anthony Bonsera Jr. (lead trumpet) and Alex Henderson (trombone).”

cream of the crate: cd review #46 – big bad voodoo daddy : self titled [big bad voodoo daddy]
Cd Insert – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

All the tracks on this Cd were written by lead vocalist/guitarist – Scotty Morris, with the exception of track #4Minnie the Moocher.

Now while the arrangements and certainly the production, are very much of a modern ilk, I think the pieces would still have generally been accepted back in those halcyon days of this style back in the 1940’s.

Listening to the music of the Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and you just know that these guys are masters at their instruments and the longevity of their music can only come about because they really like what they play.

When it comes to this CD – their first, the music quality and swing is fabulous.

The seven regular members of the group are further supplemented by two extra players when they tour, making it a massive and very full sounding group.

The fold-out booklet is better than most, but still lacks in detail about the group, and even the music.

It opens out to a 4-sided picture of the group, and includes credits and track listing and a nice black & white photo of the band, which covers three panels.

 

cream of the crate: cd review #46 – big bad voodoo daddy : self titled [big bad voodoo daddy]
Picture from the fold-out – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

But I have to say, what it lacks in detail it makes up for in the richness of the colouring, in fact the richness of the colour panels in the fold-out, is almost as rich as the music.

cream of the crate: cd review #46 – big bad voodoo daddy : self titled [big bad voodoo daddy]
Rear Cd cover: Track listing – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

Track Listing:

1. The Boogie Bumper
2. Mr. Pinstripe Suit
3. King Of Swing
4. Minnie The Moocher
5. You And Me And The Bottle Makes 3 Tonight (Baby)
6. Jump With My
Baby
7. Maddest Kind Of Love
8. Go Daddy-O
9. Please Baby
10. Mambo Swing
11. Jumpin’ Jack
12. So Long-Farewell-Goodbye

So let’s move onto the tracks of this Cd. Track #3 is King of Swing. 

So it seemed to me that if I was going to review a group that makes their mark by being promoted as a top Swing Band, then this must be the track to check.

This is some serious swing music being played and the well constructed Scotty Morris‘ lyrics.


When you feel your bones a shakin,
and your temperature is risen,
and the groove begins to move you,
it’s the King of Swing….
‘King of Swing’
When you see those fires’ burnin,
and your fever is a risin
An the drums begin a poundin
It’s the King of Swing…
‘King of Swing’
‘King of Swing’
‘King of Swing’

King Of Swing

 

cream of the crate: cd review #46 – big bad voodoo daddy : self titled [big bad voodoo daddy]
Every Voodoo needs it’s doll : The Voodoo Daddy Doll – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

Track #4 Minnie the Moocher.

This is the only track on the Cd not written by Scotty Morris.

An old standard by Cab Calloway, it was recorded in 1931 and Cab Calloway sold over a million copies.

I think you need to be pretty certain you have nailed this track if you are going up against Calloway !

Well, to be perfectly frank, I think the group does an excellent version.  Now given most folk born post 1980 will probably never heard of Cab Calloway, then they are being exposed to what is a great track.

Personally I prefer Calloway’s singing and style, but the “Daddies” pump out a great version non the less.

The unison brass at the start really makes the skin on the the nap of your neck stand up, and the way the trumpet is “hatted” is straight out of the era.

There is no doubt the guys are paying their respect for the great Cab Calloway with this track and they slip into the tempo change around 2:18 without missing a beat – love it!

Calloway repeat each scat phrase in a form of call and response, allowing the audience to participate, so I like the fact that this feature has been used by the group.

Minnie the Moocher

 

Mambo Swing is track # 10.

Avery’s clever arrangement calls upon elements of the Mambo style of music while integrating it into the swing tempo.

Thinking about it, it’s a natural thing to do!

The jazz clubs in the 1930’s & 40’s were alongside the Cuban influenced clubs, and in many ways jazz had a profound effect upon Cuban music in this period. So a marriage between Swing and Mambo seems pretty logical.

But this is all intellectualising, and what we are dealing with is pulse and rhythm, particularly rhythm where the double bass and drums provide the solid foundation for the brass sections to “do their thing”.

It kicks off with a very much Cuban “Mambo” feel and then neatly side-steps into Swing.

A fantastic drum/percussion piece that just makes you want to dance. The Timbales are used so beautifully and subtly to highlight just at the right part of the music phrasing !

Great vocals beautifully supplemented by the brass, that while powerful and sharp, never ever intrude into the vocal delivery – the production is A1.

Mambo Swing

 

My final track to present is indeed, the last track. Track #12 is So Long- farewell- goodby!

Well, if you are going to say goodby make sure your audience knows it!

This is magnificently achieved by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Kicking of with a snare and a “New Orleans” style jazz rhythm this is good-time music a-la the 1930’s.

We are even treated to the “megaphone” type sound that the singers of the 30’s used.

All together it’s a raucous piece with elements of “Satchmo” singing as well – paying respects this time to that New Orleans style, and doing it well – although I don’t recall a “J Arthur Rank” gong being used to finish either Jazz or Swing tracks before.

Nice touch guys, that was finale alright!

So long my friends, farewell goodbye
I’d love to stay an play and sing for awhile,
but it’s time to hit the road and say goodbye
So long farewell goodbye

Goodbye to my friends I’m glad you were here
It’s time for us to go and get another beer
Well I’d like to see your smiling faces again
so goodbye my friends bye-bye

Thank you for the open invitation
your kind applause and adulation,
but look at the time lord we got to fly
so long farewell baby bye-bye

Hey there now friends, it’s time to go,
but we’ll return and do another show
When we come back drop in and say hi
So long farewell bye-bye

So long farewell baby bye-bye,
and now we’re leaving with tears in our eyes
We’ll be back soon so don’t you cry
So long farewell bye-bye

 

A seven piece outfit in its self is an unusually large group by today’s standards, but how else are you ever going to get a “Big-Band Sound”?

You won’t with less.

Oh yer, I know with the amazing music software available it is possible to reproduce anything, but you cannot reproduce the energy that these guys generate.

I’ve also said (very infrequently) in past reviews that, “If you don’t keep tapping your feet to this music, either they are nailed to the floor or you are dead!”

This is definitely true for this album.

 

With a total of eight Cd’s and some of the more recent releases actually available on vinyl, there is a good selection of the Big Bad Voodoo Daddy to choose from.

Yet I would recommend this, their first release.

It has been said, you never forget your “first”, and this was the first of three releases by these guys that I have listened to, and it’s the one that stays with me!

The Cd is still available at various on-line stores for between $16.00 – $22.00 but is generally not available as it hasn’t been re-released and is not available directly from the group’s store either.

So what copies are floating around still, will get harder and harder to find. So, if you see a copy – buy it!



VIDEOS:

There were quite a few Big Bad Voodoo Daddy videos to watch, so I have chosen a few that are live tracks from this Cd, and are tracks not discussed within this retro-review.

 

Mr Pinstripe Suite

 

Go Daddy-O

 

Jumpin’ Jack


Previous Cream of The Crate Albums:

 

To view/listen the first 50 vinyl album reviews just click the image below –

cream of the crate cd review #2 : robert johnson – the complete recordings

 

Click to open the following CD reviews:

#1. The Fugs: The Fugs First Album

#2. Robert Johnson – The Complete Recordings

#3. Bob Dylan – Biograph

#4. Robin Trower – Essential

#5. Various Artists – Sixties Down Under Compilation

#6. Various Artists – The Big Ol’ Box of New Orleans

#7. Hugh Masekela – African Breeze: 80’s

#8. The Last Poets – The Very Best of the Last Poets

#9. Sister Rosetta Tharpe – Down By The Riversiide

#10. Various Artists – Sixties Down Under: Vol. 2

#11. The Beatles – On Air: Live at BBC Vol.2

#12. The Rolling Stones – Singles Collection: The London Years

#13. Compilation: Girl Groups Of The Sixties

#14. The Byrds – There Is A Season [Boxed Set]

#15. Various Artists – Sixties Down Under: Volume 4

#16. Howling Wolf – The London Sessions

#17. The Who – Thirty Years of Maximum R&B

#18. Thomas Dolby – Hyperactive

#19. Various Artists – Love Is the Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965 – 1970

#20. Various Artists: 60’s Down Under – Volume 4

#21. 2nu – Ponderous

#22. The Great Eric Clapton and The Yardbirds [Boxed Set]

#23. The Sue Records Story: New York City – The Sound of Soul

#24. Various Artists – The Encyclopedia of Boogie Woogie

#25. Cam-Pact – Psychedelic Pop ‘n Soul: 1967 – 1969

#26. The Clash – The Singles

#27. Arthur Brown – Fire: The Story of Arthur Brown

#28. Various Artists – Red Hot & Blue: Col Porter Tribute

#29. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – Global a Go Go

#30 – Jeff St John’s Copper Wine – Joint Effort

#31 – John Lee Hooker – Boogie Man

#32. Jefferson Airplane – Jefferson Airplane

#33. Various Artists – The Ultimate Guitar Survival Guide

#34. Muddy Waters – The Real Folk Blues / More Real Folk Blues

#35. Dave Hole – The Plumber

#36. Sly & The Family Stone – Stand

#37. The Pretty Things – Latest Writes [The Best of]

#38. Fats Waller – Aint Misbehavin’

#39. The Kinks – The Ultimate Collection

#40. Ross Wilson – Now Listen (The Best of)

#41. New Riders of the Purple Sage – The Best Of

#42. Spirit – 12 Dreams of Doctor Sardonicus

#43. Women of Blue Chicago – Various Artists

#44. The Grateful Dead – American Beauty

#45. Skyhooks – The Skyhooks Tapes