Ron Sunshine & Full Swing: Straight Up

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
“It’s where jazz, blues, and gospel intermingle,” says Ron Sunshine; that describes Nouveau Swing as well as anything. Like a lot of the music, this album is jump blues, including a tune by its high priest, Louis Jordan. Sunshine blows a harmonica, and the band has deep blues credentials (members have played for Buddy Guy, Johnnie Johnson, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.) It’s a blast, from the hip covers to the authentic originals – and you don’t need a 78 turntable!

“Enough for You” tells you they’re serious – chugging rhythm guitar, gritty riff sax, and a full-throated mouth organ from the late ‘Forties. The voice is knowing, and does the job without sounding “hip” (the best in this style don’t “act” cool – they simply ARE.) Ron is upset that his girl’s tastes are richer than he is: “There will never be enough for you/ I give you one and Baby, you want two!” The group response and handclaps come with the era, as does the theme of “no bread”. “Hit That Jive Jack” has a tight group vocal, and a gentle swagger from saxman Craig Dreyer. The light guitar of Don Hovey is also welcome, recalling the days before distortion. Sunshine then hits the tin sandwich – talk about a foghorn! It’s a great blast, and even on the light numbers it keeps the blues rolling late into the night.

“Red Light” is a marvel; this original has the stamp of the ‘Forties all over it. Ron is upset that cops have shut down Lover’s Lane, and the only place he can kiss his girl is when the traffic light changes. Dreyer screams his frustration, and Sunshine echoes him: “Now’s the time when green means stop and red means go, go go!”

“Is That The Moon” adds three horns and a lovely slow vocal. Muted trumpet and deep baritone keep things tender, and Sunshine gets a lovely wah-wah from his harmonica – it fits like a fedora. “Lounging at the Waldorf” has a sweet vocal from one identified only as Moanin’ Mary. It’s a relaxed coo, with quite a hint of Billie Holiday. “How are you doing, Mr. Funky?” she asks Sunshine. It’s perfect; moan on, Mary.

“Tid Bits” is a tough instrumental: Dreyer does well, and so does drummer James Wormworth. “Do You Know?” has Dreyer’s guttural blast leading into Sunshine’s smooth vocal. He keeps momentos of his love, a tenderness shared by piano and gently chugging guitar. And “Undecided” pours on the jive, harmonica joining the horn section and lyrics running together delightfully. Andres Villemil strums the bass for a modern sound, and Wormworth crashes home for a grand finish. I’m not undecided – I like it!

| Record Label: Daddy-O/Royalty Records | Style: Fringes of Jazz

comments powered by Disqus


More Articles

Read The Big Wig CD/LP/Track Review The Big Wig
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 24, 2017
Read The Dreamer Is the Dream CD/LP/Track Review The Dreamer Is the Dream
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 24, 2017
Read Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert CD/LP/Track Review Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 24, 2017
Read The Failure of Words CD/LP/Track Review The Failure of Words
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 24, 2017
Read Groove Dreams CD/LP/Track Review Groove Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Kami Fusen CD/LP/Track Review Kami Fusen
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2017
Read "Prairie Burn" CD/LP/Track Review Prairie Burn
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 9, 2016
Read "Möbius Strip" CD/LP/Track Review Möbius Strip
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 11, 2017
Read "Naija Rhythm Affair, NYC" CD/LP/Track Review Naija Rhythm Affair, NYC
by James Nadal
Published: July 12, 2016
Read "Sedimental You" CD/LP/Track Review Sedimental You
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 4, 2016
Read "Vyamanikal" CD/LP/Track Review Vyamanikal
by Duncan Heining
Published: July 17, 2016
Read "Cross-Platform Interchange" CD/LP/Track Review Cross-Platform Interchange
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 4, 2017

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!