The Cadillacs only had one hit, 1956's near immortal "Speedoo," and they tried that template again and again, especially with "Speedoo Is Back," an obvious sequel. Both of these songs are here, as well as similar sides like "I Wonder Why," "Gloria," and "Zoom," and a whole bunch more. But there are also some nice surprises here, too, like the funky little R&B punch of "Sugar, Sugar," that show just how good this group could be outside of the doo wop genre, and thankfully, they did doo wop pretty well, too.
This is a surprisingly varied set with lots of tracks for a mid-line price, and it makes a perfect introduction to this interesting vocal group.
The Easy Riders Jazz Band started recording its distinctive interpretations of classic New Orleans jazz back in 1962. The group recorded fairly regularly between that year and 1966, and then went on hiatus for more than 25 years before again appearing on record, still with its original Jazz Crusade label. The Easy Riders continue to be headed by trombonist Big Bill Bissonnette and original pianist Bill Sinclair is also hanging in. Sammy Rimington, who came on board in 1964, is still wailing away with his exuberant New Orleans-style clarinet. In addition to the new members, this album has a guest: trumpeter and vocalist Gregg Stafford. New members and guests notwithstanding, the band hasn't changed its inventive, enthusiastic response to the music and the way it's played, both of which are so unique to the Crescent City sound.The play list primarily consists of familiar pieces from the traditional jazz repertoire, with a couple of non-traditional jazz ringers thrown in like "Caldonia" and "What a Wonderful World." These two tunes feature Stafford's gravelly voice, so perhaps they were on the agenda to accommodate him. In addition to these, the program is filled with other gems.
The fortuitous selection of the Kid Ory arrangement of "Aunt Hagar's Blues" makes this one of the preeminent tracks on the CD.
Among other things, it has some well-placed shouts by Paul Boehmke. Kid Ory's "Savoy Blues," one of the classic tunes that has attracted clarinet players over the years, is a fine vehicle for Rimington. He gets help from Stafford, but it's mainly his show.
The highly syncopated "Climax Rag" is something one would be sure to hear in a Bourbon Street bar during the street's heyday as the wellhead of jazz. But the album really comes together in W.C. Handy's "Yellow Dog Blues," where the group is in ensemble (or as close to ensemble as traditional jazz ever gets) for more than 6 minutes; as individual performers, they let it all hang out for a rousing version of one of the favorite tunes of this jazz genre.It's good to have this group back in the studio once more, even though the Easy Riders have to go to Connecticut to record New Orleans music.
This live album was recorded over three nights at the Club Soda in Montréal. Richard Desjardins performs solo on piano and acoustic guitar. Unlike the two previous studio albums, Au Club Soda focuses on the entertainer, the storyteller Desjardins is on stage.
The audience is heard laughing throughout the album. Of the 18 tracks, only ten are actual songs, the other being presentations, monologues, or unaccompanied poems. For listeners who don't understand French, especially the Quebec variety, this CD will be the most difficult to make sense of. Even songs like "Le Prix de l'Or" and "Phénoménale Philomène" are half-spoken stories, the music underpinning them being illustrative at best and of no interest for someone who can't follow the plot. The solo versions of old Abbittibbi (Desjardins' late-'70s band) numbers like "M'As Mett' un Homme Là-d'ssus" and "Un Beau Grand Slow" are interesting, and "Les Fros," a song about the exploitation of immigrants in the copper mines of Rouyn-Noranda in the 1930s, constitutes the most gripping piece of the set. Even though it presents all previously unrecorded songs (except for the closing "Le Coeur Est un Oiseau") and Desjardins is a strong performer, Au Club Soda is no match for his previous studio recordings and can be downright boring for non-French speakers.