Thursday, January 21, 2010

CD Odyssey Disc 81: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Well, another roll of the dice, another sharp turn. This one from rock to swing. As The Tick would say, "Most unexpected!"

Disc 81 is...Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (Self-Titled)

Artist: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Year of Release: 1998

How I Came To Know It: I was swept up in the epidemic swing craze of the mid to late nineties - Big Bad Voodoo Daddy got a big jump from this craze, and many were infected. I think I knew them from the Swingers Soundtrack, which I reviewed way back at Disc 12.

How It Stacks Up: I only have the one BBVD (as they are known) disc. I guess it is fine, but not good enough to buy a second.

Rating: 2 stars, with a thumbs up.

As I alluded earlier, in their heydey, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (BBVD) was pretty big. I believe they even did a Superbowl halftime show, which these days is reserved for decades old rockers only.

BBVD did a pretty good half-time show as I recall, lot's of horns dancing back and forth in unison. A lot better than some of the acts, but not as good as we've had recently with Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction, Bruce Springsteen sliding and taking out a camera guy, and my favourite - Prince playing guitar, backlit behind a white sheet. He played his guitar (shaped like his 'symbol') so that the resulting shadow play made it look like he had a giant "Prince Symbol" shaped penis.

That was by far, the best (and most subversive) halftime show ever. I think most people missed the whole thing, which made it that much better.

But I digress...

Back to BBVD. These guys really like their swing music. They play it with gusto, and they play it well. Every note is on. I think swing really needs this tight orchestration, particularly given the number of instruments involved. As they say themselves, in what is about as talkative as they get on this album, "It don't mean a thing/If it aint' got that swing." They illustrate their point more fully a few songs later by singing "Go Daddy-O!" and then hitting a horn solo.

As you can surmise, this music doesn't have much to say except "have a good time!" That is fine for what it is, and I did have a good time driving home to this the last two nights, including the phantom conducting we all do when we hear a catchy horn riff.

I know these guys are a deliberate throwback to the golden age of swing, when swing was probably pretty subversive and crazy, but to my modern ear, it comes off as a fairly derivative. To which, BBVD would say, "Hey, Daddy-o, don't hate our groove. We are what we are."

To which I would say, "Hey, it's my blog, cats, so it's my groove."

I think part of what makes swing attractive is the whole style aspect - the clothes (I recently bought an electric blue zoot suit which rules!), the mannerisms, the big funky pimp-daddy hats. Referring to a restaurant as a 'joint'.

It is like disco in that it is about the scene, and it is about dancing and having a good time, but it isn't about much else.

So at the end of the day revisiting the BBVD epidemc was fun, but it didn't connect like it did when I really had the fever.

Best tracks: Mr. Pinstripe Suit, You and Me and the Bottle Makes 3 Tonight, Go Daddy-O, Mambo Swing.

1 comment:

Sheila said...

I never want to listen to this until I actually hear a song. I love your blue zoot suit! It rules.