A bevy of talented blues and swing cats join guitarist Kid Ramos on West Coast House Party, a rowdy excursion in jump blues that's as instrumentally satisfying as any recent jump or swing release. With 16 tunes catapulted by some terrific musicians and singers, Kid's soiree is a major blast from first note to the last.
The guest list is rife with guitar heavyweights and blues crooners from the West Coast and elsewhere. Appearing are Clarence "Gatemouth"Brown, Duke Robillard, Rick Holmstrom (Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers), Junior Watson, James Harmon,"Little" Charlie Baty (Little Charlie and the Nightcats), "Big Sandy" Williams (Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys), Kim Wilson (Fabulous Thunderbirds), Janiva Magness, Lynwood Slim, James Intveld and Rusty Zinn. These notables bring their soulful voices and monster chops to Kid's bash, but the life of this party is clearly the rhythm section of drummer Stephen Hodges, veteran bassist Larry Taylor, and pianist Fred Kaplan , followed closely by a honking three-piece sax section led by talented arranger Jeff Turmes. The bottom-enders rock Kid's house like a California quake, while the gritty saxmen tear it down from the top.
West Coast Party offers one full hour of relentless jump and R&B. Mixed to analog, this album has a nice '50s vibe going for it. Thanks to some wonderful old tunes and some rollicking new ones, House Party compares favorably with classic albums by T-Bone Walker and Big Joe Turner.
Ramos' guitar is hardly the center of attention, but it's a vital presence. The Fabulous Thunderbird axeman steps to the fore for one ripping solo after another but generously relinquishes the spotlight to his many gifted friends. Noteworthy performances include Big Sandy's rockabilly-styled vocals on "Guitar Player," the inspired guitar exchanges between Brown, Robillard and Ramos on "Welcome Blues," and James Harmon's greasy singing (not to mention those rowdy horns) on the Harmon confection "One 'Mo Peep."
Attention all you hep cats and hot chicks: This veteran congregation swings far harder than all those nouveau swing posers you've been swooning over. Lace up your saddle shoes and loosen your zoots, 'cause West Coast House Party will rock your world.
Track Listing: Strollin' With Bone (Part 1); 'Lizabeth; Guitar Player; Talking That Talk; House Party; Where Were You; Love Don't Love Nobody; Welcome Blues; Bring It Home to Me; Wipe Your Tears; Happy Hour; Real Gone Lover; Silly Dilly Woman; One Bar Short; One Mo' Peep; Strollin' With Bone (Part 2)
Personnel: Kid Ramos (guitar); Fred Kaplan (piano); Larry Taylor (acoustic bass); Stephen Hodges (drums); Jeff Turmes (baritone sax); Steve Marsh (tenor sax); Jonny Viau (tenor sax);"Little" Charlie Baty (guitar); Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown (guitar); Rick "L.A. Holmes:" Holmstrom (guitar); Duke Robillard (guitar, vocals); Junior Watson (guitar, vocals); Rusty Zinn (guitar), vocals); James Harmon (vocals); James Intveld (vocals); Lynwood Slim (vocals); Robert "Big Sandy" Williams (vocals); Kim Wilson (vocals, harmonica); Joe Krown (organ); Mike Turner (trumpet)