'Til the Daytime Fades
many reviewers (myself included) have noted time and time
again, most of the neo-swing groups that gained popularity
during the "swing revival" and GAP advertisement era were
really producing something closer to jump blues than swing-era
sounds. Many of them were also producing music with a very
short shelf life, dependent upon the trend itself for notoriety.
So, where does that leave an actual jump blues band in the
Year 2001? This is the challenge that The Blues Jumpers face.
And, where does that leave a neo-swing band that has released
a new album with well-worn sounds? This is the challenge that
The Prairie Cats face.
Blues Jumpers' soulful approach to their jump style is sometimes
hidden on the production of their latest release, Royal
Motel (Blues Jumpers), yet I imagine that they are a potent
and fun live act. They do not rely on overused songs or arrangements,
and both Joe Delia's piano work and Haywood Gregory's vocals
are genuinely infectious. So, although a cursory listen to
Royal Motel doesn't impress complete originality upon
the listener, there is depth here that reveals itself with
Prairie Cats have it a little harder. Their debut album, 'Til
the Daytime Fades (Behave Records), probably would have
been very well received in 1997. But with the traditional
musical trappings of so many neo-swing acts, The Cats unfortunately
sound dated. Oddly, they almost seem to acknowledge this with
their song "Not in the Mood," which cries out to Glenn Miller,
"I wonder what you'd think about the status of swing, a royal
voodoo poppin', cherry daddy, Setzer kinda thing." That said,
they are certainly competent at the sounds they are presenting,
and I'm sure a fan of those name-checked neo-swing groups
would appreciate the band's efforts on this release.