An Interesting Song I Found
Posted on August 18, 2018 Posted by Athena Scalzi 26 Comments
Hey, everyone! As I’ve been packing and sorting clothes and junk, I’ve been listening to a lot of music, and I stumbled upon a song I think is really interesting. It’s got that old sound to it, like it’s from another era of music, but I think it’s really good and I like the lyrics a lot. It’s pretty different from some of the music I’ve posted in the past, so I thought it was worth sharing.
Let me know what you think of it, or if you know of any other songs that have the same sort of vibe this one does. And as always, have a great day!
Are you familiar with the band Squirrel Nut Zippers? They would fit perfectly on a playlist with this.
I like this song.
I think you should check out: http://postmodernjukebox.com/
I think the original models for the style of this song are the Andrews Sisters, a trio who sang in the late 30s and 40s. You can find a number of their songs on Youtube. They were very popular at the time.
Thank you very much for this Athena. I’m a burlesque artist and I have a costume that I’ve been wracking my brains to create an act for, and you just handed me the song I needed! I started listening to Cessie Redgwick after reading your post this morning and BAM, there it is, “Gimme That Swing”. When I perform it I’ll give you credit in the intro! Not that emcees don’t mess around with our intros every time, but hey, we try.
This is pretty straight-up electro swing, in the same bucket as Caravan Palace and Parov Stelar (both of which I’d recommend you to investigate, especially Caravan Palace. Those Frogs can swing *hard*!). There are also a coupla good electro swing playlists on Spotify, to give you some ideas.
Seconding Huehueteotl’s recommendation of Caravan Palace. I love them!
Also worth exploring: Bryan Ferry (formerly of Roxy Music) did one album, Jazz Age, of 1920s-style jazz covers of hits like “Love is the Drug.” He was also responsible for music for The Great Gatsby, which does the same for a lot of music, with various artists.
I’d suggest Pomplamoose, especially https://youtu.be/FCCoggBkcdM. They do a lot of covers, but the covers are good and have a nice funky groove mixed with vintage vocal style.
I’m with Elizabeth Mancz on this. Andrew Sisters and/or The Boswell Sisters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILXbfba0zAE
There’s something about the new iteration of this old stuff that often doesn’t work for me. It reminds me of modern ska vs. OG ska with the exception of The Specials.
I also find the lyrics of these older songs to be quite engaging and clever. I’m sure there’s a playlist or curator out there to follow.
Video linked is geolocked.
Or, you know, Ellington and the Mills Brothers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTa3neI_8lQ
Makes me think of the Puppini Sisters, which of course is just to say it reminds me of older stuff like the Andrews sisters. Which is very nice. :-) I’m going to check out more of their stuff, so thanks, @Athena Scalzi! It’s not my usual type of music, but in the right mood (and for some reason, this is perfect right now), I do like this stuff a lot.
Seconding the recommendation for Postmodern Jukebox – mostly modern songs (some classics from the 70s and 80s) done mostly as Big Band/Swing numbers.
Ever hear Lake Street Dive? – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDBQVEkAFaI
Why do I feel like doing the Charleston when I hear this?
The melody is flirting around back and forth between using a blues scale in the key of E (which gives it a “bluesy” sound of course), and harmonic minor scale — also in E — (which gives it that more sad sound). Then rhythmically, the melody is “swinging”…i.e., eighth notes are being played/sung as if they were long and short triplets, especially in the instrumental accompaniment (hence the title of the song “Gimme That Swing”)…but not always in the vocal (she forgets?)…and there are also longer duration triplets in the vocal (which is not technically “swing” per se — but I almost wonder if the composer thought it was? ;) ). Then as far as the ensemble, you have that sort of retro 20’s jazz band smallish combo going (not so big an ensemble as the bigger bands of the 30’s).
I agree with the suggestions above, but from a history perspective, you might check out the Boswell sisters (they came a bit before, and somewhat paved the way for, the Andrews Sisters).
For the vintage sounds, streaming radio stations Radio Dismuke or KCEA play some things that have a similar vibe from the 20s and 30s. For modern stuff, you’ll sometimes hear tunes like these (and Lake Street Dive and similar) at streaming radio station WDVX.
Max Raabe and Palastorchester. They do standards from the 20s and 30s, impeccably. And they also do fabulous jazz-style versions of pop songs.
Here’s his version of “Oops! I did it Again.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYr9kIyambE, which screams out to be tangoed to.
#This to @Les; the Boswell Sisters were IMO better and more talented than the Andrews Sisters.
I’m something of a fan of the old (older than me, in fact) swing. There’s been a bit of a revival of the older stuff although this is higher pitched than most of that. You might like the original stuff, like the above-mentioned Andrews Sisters doing (at the time original) “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree” — probably their most famous, but there were lots of others accompanied by bands like Glenn Miller. Thanks to quirks of copyright, they’re readily available now as public domain, but if you like ping me and I’ll dig up (lots) more.
There’s also modern treatments like Diana Krall’s — she does some smokin’ torch songs, and the fact that she’s a very good pianist as well as singer doesn’t hurt.
Oh, and a while back Natalie Cole did a bit of recording necromancy and recorded some albums of duets with her and her late father (Nat “King” Cole).
Totally OT (pure instrumental) but one of my favorite jazzish bands (Turning Point) did one on their “A Thousand Stories” album that I’ve been tempted to drop on your father when he’s in the area next weekend if I can find a copy. One of the better pieces on it is titled “Athena.” Hard to find now, though.
Yeah, Cissie is part of a great musical mash-up that’s recently become popular, called Electro Swing, which is a mix of traditional swing and hip-hop. In addition to the bands already mentioned above, try:
* Electro Swing Circus
* Alice Francis
* The Speakeasy Three
* Vintage Swing Band
And, of course, the gold record champions of Electro Swing: The Correspondents
The Chordettes did some nice songs. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy are also a lot of fun.
With that title I thought it might be from the 1930s Federal Theater Project musical Cradle Will Rock, which features a character “Mister Mister”, who is referred to in at least one song. But it had nothing to do with that, wasn’t even really a similar style.
I’ve seen every artist I was going to mention already listed, except for Caro Emerald. She’s more electroswing than SNZ, but still includes a healthy dose of modern pop.
Into this mix one really ought to introduce Seanan McGuire’s classic contribution to this genre; the relevant album is mostly out of print, but the song is available via NPR, on the page featuring their interview of Seanan just last month. (The recording NPR has is, I think, a better performance than the YouTube video of a live version from a New Zealand convention, at least for illustrating the Andrews/Boswell Sisters resonances. The live version is good, mind, just not as technically polished, and includes fewer backup singers.)
@Huehueteotl I’m always reluctant to get into ‘who is better’ discussions (“it ain’t a bicycle race”, as they say). But the Boswell sisters do seem to have paved the way, then been overshadowed by, the Andrews sisters. And I see many more groups doing Andrews sisters numbers today than I do Boswell sisters numbers (possibly because the Boswell arrangements are more challenging!).
The late lamented radio show “Hot Jazz Saturday Night” left the air from WAMU in DC several months ago. One of the last shows was three hours on and around the Boswells. Three hours wasn’t enough.
Back to the topic… Another suggestion for Athena: check out the movie “Triplets of Bellville”. The music in that movie is very much inspired by a group of French musicians in the 30s and 40s who were in turn inspired by American jazz they were hearing on their 78’s. You might find some other musical threads to pull.
Ever heard of The Hot Club of Cowtown? They mix Django Reinhardt with Bob Wills style western swing. And I don’t know what exactly to call it but I highly recommend any live version of Erin McKeown’s “Blackbirds”.