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Deborah Shulman: Get Your Kicks

Nicholas F. Mondello By

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In the vicinity of Staunton, Illinois, a short strip of asphalt heretofore known as "Route 66" lies silently abandoned. A local wag once suggested that the ghost remnant be pulverized into bits and sold to nostalgia types, with a wealth to be had—probably by the wag. Whether or not a fortune is to be made with vocalist Deborah Shulman's Get Your Kicks: The Music and Lyrics of Bobby Troup remains to be seen, but this recording is a treasure trove of talent.

Much has been written about Bobby Troup: his personal, musical, and television lives, and his spirit-drenched oeuvre. For decades, his compositions have been explored musically by artists across the genre spectrum. Rarely, however, have they been sent up with the flair, originality, and intelligence presented here.

Shulman is a highly engaging vocalist and revered vocal coach for artist including Bette Midler and Linda Ronstadt. Here, she steps into a welcoming spotlight and is the perfect rhapsode for the shrewd lyrics and melodies Bestowed by Troup. Her rhythmic and melodically savvy approach, perfect diction and phrasing make Troup's lines shine even brighter. And, with marvelously inventive arrangements and superb backing of pianist Ted Howe and his trio, the entire quartet frames and delivers the material impeccably.

The selections range from the expected—a neat hip-rock "Route 66" and the Material Girls' anthem, "Daddy"—to Troup's lesser-recorded material, including a stunningly beautiful rendition of "February Brings the Rain" and a slick-chick "Nice Girls Don't Stay for Breakfast." As these and the other selections unfold, two things are readily apparent: Shulman's overall talent sends the material out of the park, and Howe's original arrangements ("Girl Talk") and impeccable accompaniment and soloing soar. Bassist Kevin Axt and drummer Dave Tull support tastefully, and they all swing.

While kicks "just keep getting harder to find," and if sterile Interstates have driven "The Mother Road" into obsolescence (with the aforementioned wag dreaming on), Get Your Kicks is indeed and in deed a Troup tour de force, no '60s Corvette required.

Track Listing: You're Lookin' at Me; Route 66; Nice Girls Don't Stay for Breakfast; Daddy; Baby All the Time; Girl Talk; Lemon Twist; February Brings the Rain; The Three Bears; It Happened Once Before; Meaning of the Blues.

Personnel: Deborah Shulman: vocals; Ted Howe: piano; Kevin Axt: bass; Dave Tull: drums.

Title: Get Your Kicks | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Summit Records

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