The thin line between Jazz and Western Swing gets very blurred some days
Two years ago a friend visited SXSW and brought a bag full of CD’s back to Blighty and eventually loaned me "Tell 'em Joe Sent You" by the Jitterbug Vipers and I nearly wore it out that Summer.
So; when their latest recording dropped through my letter box I was giddy with excitement as I slid it into the CD player and I was mighty relieved to hear PHOEBE’S DREAM is more of the same Old Timey Western Swing Music with lashings of quality Midnight Jazz licks filtering through every track.
The album opens with the delightful title track, Phoebe’s Dream which wouldn’t have been out of place in a pre-WWII Berlin nightclub, a New York Speakeasy or a Bourbon St. bar.
As with that previous album a couple of regular themes permeate throughout; ‘vipers’ which are used as metaphors quite a bit and also ‘smoking’ to get high; which may or may not be a drug reference; but I doubt it as the band all look so sweet and innocent.
The songs are genuinely timeless with Billie’s Blues being absolutely stunning as Sarah pays homage to Ms Holliday while Slim Richey performs the first of his Django Reinhardt impressions (the second is Django’s Birthday).
With a gentle change of pace Viper Moon and That Was the Sauce Talking are the coolest Western Swing songs that I’ve first heard since I discovered the Hotclub of Cowtown many years ago!
Sarah Sharp’s voice just oozes class throughout and the magnificently coiffured Slim Richey plays a mighty fine guitar combining subtlety and flair in equal measures.
The other two members; Francie Meaux Jeaux on Double Bass and Masumi Jones on Drums manage to keep time in the background better than a Swiss watch.
"Phoebe's Dream" is an album that sounded just as good when I played on a car journey from Hell; when it managed to calm my nerves but equally in the dead of night with a cool drink in my hand as I stared longingly into my lover’s eyes; and there aren’t many albums you can say that about!
Jitterbug Vipers/Flying High Records