Despite its title, Lawrence Welk Swings, this really wasn't a bad idea for a CD, but it seems as though Lawrence Welk and his orchestra didn't leave quite enough proper swing material behind to really do it right. Evidently compiled from several decades of recordings by Welk's band (it's all stereo, but that's still thirty-plus years of stuff to choose from), this is the cream of their renditions of big band numbers. The funny thing is, some of it is not half bad. Oh, it is swing-lite, to be sure, at best -- "Take the 'A' Train" is deadly dull compared to any version that you'd actually set out to hear, and there's no tension to speak of on "One O'Clock Jump," but they go through some effort at piano embellishment and a sax solo; "Woodchopper's Ball," is decent even if it exists in 30 hotter versions. And "Organ Grinder's Swing" answers a question about the name of a piece of music that runs throughout one of the better 1930s Popeye cartoons (the one with -- right -- an organ grinder). But "Christopher Columbus," "String of Pearls" and even worse, "Corn Silk," "Laura Jean" and "Get Me to the Church on Time," are abominable inclusions as swing numbers, played in the requisite rinky-dink, roller-rink Welk style. "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," "Caravan" and especially "Boogie Woogie" aren't bad, but too much of what's here is done in the style of a bad resort hotel band with little sense of taste or style. On the other hand, if you were going to listen to Welk's outfit at all, this CD might be the only current release that you could get through, even if it makes you want to throw your Ellington, Goodman, Dorsey and Shaw originals on as soon as it's over.
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AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder