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Big-T & the Bada-Bings


The Camaros

They may be a part of "the swing revival," but the Camaros have spent far less time studying the songbooks of the two Louis (Jordon and Prima) than the majority of their boy band brethren. Certainly, they take advantage of the genre's popular tropes: the diminished chords, the horns that sway and stab through rhythms that lend themselves perfectly for the dance floor. But these babes put a spin on the proceedings that is inventive and exhilarating and definitely their own.


Hear Samples of

Junk Food
Shameless Hussy

(Requires Windows Media)

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Their self-released CD Evil is a fine testament to their strengths. Led by singers Lee Ann Westover and Jen Jones, the band tears through 13 originals that swing and rock unlike any of their contemporaries. The CD is remarkably well produced. Both singers have rich, distinct voices with great range, and the vocal harmonies come through bright and clear. Co-produced by Jones and Westover with engineer Dey Bennett, the CD never sounds muddy or flat. Even Andy Riedel's most subtle guitar fills ring through the saxes of Andrew Cahn and Lars Jacoboson and every snap and slap of the rhythm section.

The Camaros not only employ a wide variety of styles, including rockabilly, jump blues, and jazz, they also flavor every song with a lyrical inventiveness and sense of humor. They kick off with the inspired metaphor of "Junk Food," in which they chide men who don't deliver the goods ("Gotta little taste/ but I'm still hungry"). Later come the doo-wop tempos that give way to upbeat ska of "Moanin'" over which the girls seductively, well, moan. The walking bass line hook of "Shameless Hussy" underscores a call to arms for bad girls everywhere. "Danger Girl" is the theme song for the best spy girl flick never made, while "Too Young to be Bitter" reeks of the smoky lounges of a second-rate Vegas show palace. "I Wanna be Famous" is a jazzy ballad in which Westover, calling to mind a Valley of the Dolls-esque of vision of stardom, claims, "I will be a Barbie doll, with big fake tits, no hips at all and a heinous attitude in tow."

Of course, there are those (mostly male) listeners who might interpret the Camaros self-empowered, mocking songs as male-bashing. These are the same sort of people who couldn't handle Wanda Jackson's raucous tunes, the type who prefer there singers merely pretty and easy to listen to. But the rest of us, we know, just as Wanda Jackson was to Brenda Lee, Sleater-Kinney is far sexier than Celine Dion.

- Macaulay Connor

Year 1999 Reviews
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Bellevue Cadillac—Prozac Nation
Big Kahuna—Hawaiian Swing
Big Rude Jake—Big Rude Jake
Big Tubba Mista—Knock One Back
Bill Elliott Swing Orchestra—
Swingin' The Century
Bim Bam Baby—Who Am I Gonna Love
Black Jacket Racket—Volume II
Blue Saracens—What's A Saracen?
The Camaros—Evil
Casey MacGill & The Spirits of Rhythm—Jump
The Delegates—Delegatin'
George Gee & His Make Believe Ballroom Orchestra—Swingin' Live
Got Swing?—Volume I
The Music of Harry Warren—
Swing! Here and Now
House of Blues Swings!
Indigo Swing—Red Light
Jet Set Six—Livin' It Up
Lisa Stansfield—Swing: The Movie
Mob Hits—Volume I
Mora's Modern Rhythmists—
Mr. Rhythmist Goes To Town
Ray Gelato Giants—The Men From Uncle
Rockabilly Hall of Fame—
VolumesI & II
Royal Crown Revue—Walk on Fire
The Yalloppin' Hounds—
Ghetto Swing Extreme
  Retro Film Reviews
Swing!: The Movie
  Retro Reading Reviews
The Swing Book—Degen Pener
Musichound's Swing!; The Essential Music Guide




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