Jump 'N the Saddle Band

Jump 'n the Saddle Band

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Jump 'N the Saddle Band had one of the biggest novelty hits of the '80s with "The Curly Shuffle," which was a novelty not just because it was a salute to perhaps the most idiotic of the Three Stooges -- and, appropriately, had the band's lead vocalist Peter Quinn mimicking most of Curly's catch phrases -- but because the group's Western Swing revival was as out of step with the MTV-saturated, synth-driven times of 1983. It was so distinctive it wound up scaling to number 15 on the pop charts, and the group never managed to produce another hit, partially because they fell into a dispute with their record label Atlantic when it came time to record a follow-up -- according to Greg Adams' liner notes, the label wanted the band to cover "Shaving Cream," and the group complied with a rewritten version that took pot-shots at the label, thereby leading to a stalemate where Atlantic never released another album by the group -- but also because the sextet relied on covers, not original material. Auxiliary member Anne Schwartz penned a few songs on their lone album, 1984's Jump 'N the Saddle Band, but leader Quinn was only responsible for "The Curly Shuffle," which meant that the rest of the album was devoted to such bar band standards as "Deep in the Heart of Texas" and "The Chicken Song (Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens)," as well as such sharp covers as Nick Lowe's party anthem "Play That Fast Thing (One More Time)." While these are good songs, they do reveal that the Jump 'N the Saddle Band were simply just a straight-ahead neighborhood bar band and weren't distinctive on record. Throughout the LP, the group is amiable and pleasant, but never energetic or compelling. The only time they make an indelible impression is with, of course, "The Curly Shuffle," but despite its success, it's one massively irritating song that wears out its welcome before the end of the first chorus. Discard that tune, and the rest of Jump 'N the Saddle Band is good, generic, bar band Western Swing, good for aficionado of the genre, but forgettable for everybody else.

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