To The Bar
Sailor!, the latest release from Eight to the Bar,
is a dancer's delight. Whether you prefer Savoy-style
Lindy hop or the smooth moves of West Coast swing, you'll
find plenty of material to work with on the band's seventh
CD, a collection of mid-tempo originals and covers that
fuses boogie woogie, swing, and rhythm & blues.
band performs competently on standards like "She's
The Most" and "Well All Right", but it's
the original compositions by members Cynthia Lyon, Tom
Whalen, Collin Tilton and Megan Keith that truly charm.
The title track, "Hey Sailor", at first sounds
so sweet as to cause cavities, but Lyon's coy come-ons
are enticing, and her harmonies with Keith hearken back
to the flirty formula of the Andrews Sisters. On "Why
Can't You Dance (With Me Like That)", Lyons turns
on throatier, full-throttle vocals that really swing,
while veteran sax man Collin Tilton struts his stuff on
the breaks. But by far the most noteworthy original is
"The Existential Boogie", a stomper of a song
with classic boogie woogie piano licks that will lift
you from your seat. The closer, "Beat Me Daddy, Eight
to the Bar" is an obvious choice, but leaves the
listener on a high note, ready to hit "play"
a second time. Eight to the Bar are not ones to break
new ground, but they know the formula for a good time,
and musically they've got the chops to deliver the goods.
Diehard dancers and fans of bands like Manhattan Transfer
will enjoy their sound, and should make Hey, Sailor!
a staple in their collection.