ONE WE MISSED: Sal Valentine and the Babyshakes (P&W/Border)

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Sal Valentine and the Baby Shakes: She Ain't No Good
ONE WE MISSED: Sal Valentine and the Babyshakes (P&W/Border)

Because Elsewhere is a one-man outfit, "we" can't be everywhere at once -- and sometimes we are very elsewhere -- so every now and again there will be slightly apologetic postings under the banner . . . One We Missed.

This album came out at the end of last year when Elsewhere was snowed under in advance of going Northern Hemisphere elsewhere for five weeks, so it just never got an airing.

Never too late to enjoy this loose swinging affair though.

Every new generation discovers the unabashed joy of jump jive jazz, big band swing and piano-driven rhythm'n'blues ballads and this self-titled debut by an outfit under the nom-de-disque of Sal Valentine (a neat play on Sal Paradise in On the Road I'm guessing, given the nod to the music of that era) and his 10-piece Baby Shakes (another gem) digs deep into goodtimes jazz and woozy blues.

Recorded in two days at Bob Frisbee's studio in Auckland, this has a loose-limbed but disciplined sound as they burn through a dozen gently referential originals which conjure up the Fourties and early Sixties. (The Andrews Sisters and Louis Jordan to Bacharach-David).

Blasting horns, women backing singers layering in harmonies, melodrama from Sal, the band providing "audience" commentary and hollers . . .

She Ain't No Good sounds like newly minted soul-pop classic, Drink Till I Pass Out is shameless, Dirty Rascal distills the sound of black'n'white New York clubland from the Fifties, LUV draws from early Fifties proto rock'n'roll . . .

This is smart, fun and showcases some excellent musical prowess.

Looking for a party band for a corporate gig? You could do a lot worse.

A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

Sal Valentine and the Babyshakes' album is also available on limited edition coloured vinyl (see here) and the band play on March 15 at 3pm in Nixon Park, Auckland as part of the Music in Parks events. Be there. 

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