180

Johnny Angel and the Swingin' Demons: Club Deuce

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Johnny Angel (I’m not sure that’s his given name) wrote to ask if I would review his album, and as I almost never turn aside a request from a musician, I said yes. Johnny, a New Yorker, is a vocalist, one of two on the date. The other is a Texan, Julia LaShae, also known as “the red-headed canary.” Johnny sings on five of the thirteen selections, Julia on three, and they trade one-liners on Louis Prima’s “Absent-Minded Lover.” The other tracks are instrumentals, with urbane monologue on the intro (“Club Deuce/New Orleans”) and penultimate track (“Venus of Avenue D/Melancholy Serenade”) by “Manny B. Medici” (a.k.a. Peter Lupini).

The setting, as described by Lupini and “announcer” Steve “Chip” Galle, is a New Orleans “nightclub,” Club Deuce (“a place for the nocturnal elements to roost“), at which Johnny and his Swingin’ Demons (a thirteen-piece ensemble) are “appearing.” The music is a blend of New Orleans trad, American pop and neo-swing that accommodates four original songs by Angel and others by Lupini, Prima, Hot Lips Page (“Uncle in Harlem“), the Gershwins (“A Foggy Day”), Richard Adler/Jerry Ross (it‘s hard to believe they wrote “No Soap Blues“), Joe Liggins, Paulie Gerrard, Jackie Gleason (“Melancholy Serenade”) and even Walter Schumann (the theme from Dragnet, which opens the floor show). I can’t say if the “Hoggy Carmichael” listed as composer of “New Orleans” is actually “Hoagy” or if that’s another gag.

Before going further, a bit of housecleaning, lest there be some confusion about the playing order, which, as listed in the booklet, is incorrect. “Saturday Night Saloon,” listed as Track 7, is actually 11, following “Write Me One Sweet Letter,” which appears after “Wing It,” not before as listed in the booklet. “No Soap Blues” and “A Foggy Day” are tracks 7 and 8, not 8 and 9. I hope that clears things up.

The music is typical neo-swing, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, with occasional humor, crisp drum work by David Hansen and brief solos by saxophonists Jerry Jumonville, Steve Miller and Ryan Burrage, trumpeter Larry Foyen, clarinetist Tim Laughlin, pianist Jim Maxwell, guitarist Chip Wilson and guest guitarist Kid Royale (on “Red Lipstick”). Johnny and Julia are decent vocalists, but no more than that, and Julia is sometimes undermined by excessive reverb, especially on “One Sweet Letter.”

For fans of the swing revival, a pretty good look at what’s going down in the Crescent City.


Track Listing: Club Deuce / New Orleans; Dragnet; Uncle in Harlem; Runaway Freight; Red Lipstick; Absent-Minded Lover; No Soap Blues; A Foggy Day; Wing It; Write Me One Sweet Letter; Saturday Night Saloon; Venus of Avenue D / Melancholy Serenade; Club Deuce / New Orleans. 47:12.

Personnel: Johnny Angel, leader, vocals; Julia LaShae, vocals; Kevin Clark, Larry Foyen, Ruel Pate, trumpet; Jeff Albert, Chris Munch, trombone; Ryan Burrage, alto, tenor, baritone sax; Jerry Jumonville, Steve Miller, tenor sax; Tim Laughlin, clarinet; Jim Maxwell, piano; Chip Wilson, guitar; Tim Paco, bass; David Hansen, drums, tympani; Peter Lupini, spoken word; Warren Johnson, tap dancer; Steve

Title: Club Deuce | Year Released: 2004


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read No Answer CD/LP/Track Review No Answer
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Agrima CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Bright Yellow with Bass CD/LP/Track Review Bright Yellow with Bass
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Kurrent CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Duets CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read "Live in Tokyo" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Tokyo
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 18, 2016
Read "Live From A&R Studios New York August 26th 1971" CD/LP/Track Review Live From A&R Studios New York August 26th 1971
by Doug Collette
Published: July 29, 2017
Read "Happy Madness" CD/LP/Track Review Happy Madness
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 7, 2017
Read "Beginnings" CD/LP/Track Review Beginnings
by David A. Orthmann
Published: September 25, 2017
Read "Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath II" CD/LP/Track Review Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath II
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 16, 2017
Read "Matador 4" CD/LP/Track Review Matador 4
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: December 31, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.