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

 |   |  1 min read

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. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Various Artists: Naga; New Music for Gamelan (Rattle)

Various Artists: Naga; New Music for Gamelan (Rattle)

Those of us lucky enough to have been to Java or Bali -- and who have ventured further than the beach or pool for cultural experiences -- will attest to the extraordinary sound of a gamelan... > Read more

Gang of Four: What Happens Next (Shock)

Gang of Four: What Happens Next (Shock)

Among the remarkable things about Britain's post-punk Gang of Four – aside from their excellent albums Entertainment! and Solid Gold (in 79 and 81) where they pulled pulled politics, sonic... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: Nick Mc Grath of Sparrow Thieves

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: Nick Mc Grath of Sparrow Thieves

Last week Elsewhere was pleased to introduce, Lethargic Caffeine, the debut album by Southland's Sparrow Thieves noting gthat it betrayed a maturity of songwriting and an economy of pop-rock into... > Read more

SLEEPING WITH GHOSTS by DON MCcCULLIN: War -- and something approaching peace

SLEEPING WITH GHOSTS by DON MCcCULLIN: War -- and something approaching peace

In one of those excellent but buried television programmes, various photographers who were in the Vietnam killing zones told of the stories behind some of those images imprinted on the... > Read more