It is a truth universally acknowledged that the Reynolds Brothers are a superb hot band, subtle and forceful, offering vivid solos and lovely intertwining ensemble lines. And they offer us songs, both sweet and spicy, that deserve to be played. I’ve been a convert for several years now. But you don’t have to take my word for it: see for yourself.
They’re required reading in my lifetime course on Swing. And regular field trips are part of the curriculum.
Here they are — with guest Clint Baker — at the 2012 Sacramento Music Festival. That’s Marc Caparone, cornet; Katie Cavera, string bass; John Reynolds, guitar, whistling; Ralf Reynolds, washboard; Clint Baker, clarinet, trombone — with assorted and sundry vocalizing from the members of the crew. Here they are on a paddlewheel steamer — heating it up in front of a very receptive audience — on May 26, 2012.
One of the more popular songs about how nice it was to go back home down South (perhaps a safe theme from Stephen Foster up to the Swing Era) ALABAMMY BOUND:
A high-class love song with caffeine, always the way to go — WHEN I TAKE MY SUGAR TO TEA. I am not being hyperbolic when I write that John Reynolds improves the world by his presence — singing, playing, scatting, whistling:
A prescription for happiness, care of the early Cab Calloway ensemble, THE SCAT SONG. Fine riffin’ this evening!:
You shiftless person! Get up off the ground and swing. Marc shows us how, vocally and with the necessary hardware, on LAZY BONES:
FUTURISTIC JUNGLEISM needs no exegesis, and might baffle anyone attempting to offer one:
WHEN FRANCIS DANCES WIH ME is a 1921 song recorded by Billy Murray and Ada Jones, then by the Andrews Sisters. I’m only sorry that our Katie left out these deathless lyrics from the second chorus — a natural segue into the Reynolds Brothers’ rendition of FAT AND GREASY, referring to the stylish Francis: “His hair shines like diamonds, he combs it with fat / He wears a Palm Beach and a brown derby hat / Now you know a guy can’t look better than that“:
A delightful Thirties pickup song (earlier than REMEMBER ME) on the immortal theme of “Hey, cutie! Look over here! Pay attention to me!” — PARDON ME, PRETTY BABY:
Ralf teaches us Official History with the assistance of Professors Berry and Razaf . . . and listen to how the brass leaps in after the vocal on CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS:
A plunger-muted SOME OF THESE DAYS featuring the multi-talented Mister Baker on clarinet, trombone, and vocal. Ralf could no longer endure the fact that washboards are not equipped with plunger mutes — look closely at around the five-minute mark:
With this Fats Waller song, the question is moot. Or perhaps rhetorical. AIN’T ‘CHA GLAD? I know I am:
“I keep cheerful on an earful / Of music sweet.” HAPPY FEET:
How to spend a Saturday night — deep in riffs! And I’ll next hear the Brothers (and Friends) at the San Diego Thanksgiving Dixieland Jazz Festival . . . this November. Look-a-here, as Fats would say — SAN DIEGO!
May your happiness increase.