After its peak in the early '40s, swing slowly went out of style with mainstream listeners. Artists like Bob Wills and Django Reinhardt kept it alive until the '50s and there have been sporadic revivals ever since by bands like Asleep at the Wheel. It was revitalized by a younger generation of hipsters in the late '90s and today the Two Man Gentlemen Band -- Andy Bean on vocals, tenor guitar, and banjo; Fuller Condon on vocals and standup bass -- use it as the foundation of their style. Although they play swing with an almost punk rock ferocity, Bean and Condon swing like mad and write original material that harks back to the music's origins with an ironic edge that makes them sound totally modern. They open with "A Gentle Stomp" and while the sound may be gentle, the tempo and energy are anything but. Bean lays down a scat solo that'll raise the roof and complements it with his blistering guitar rhythms while Condon shifts into double time for the song's finale. Most of the tunes are good-time, good-humored goofs like "Me, I Get High on Reefer" and "There's Something in My Trousers," which brings to mind the down-and-dirty style of Cab Calloway. When they decide to get serious, they're just as impressive as they are on the lighter numbers. "I Already Have a Dance Partner" is a melancholy number about lost love that's touching in its sincerity, while "Franklin Pierce" tells the story of the ex-president who descended into alcoholism and madness after he left office. Despite its ragtime tempo, the song takes a serious look at the ex-president's last days.
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AllMusic Review by j. poet