Jo Anne Castle

Accordion in Hi-Fi

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Jo Ann Castle is known as a ragtime piano player, noted for a Hawaiian ragtime record and for covering "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" (theme from The Beverly Hillbillies television show). Amazingly, between more formal piano performances and her ragtime niche, she made one of the best accordion records ever.

Accordion in Hi-Fi combines all the essentials of great instrumental pop from the period. The instrumental backing and stereo separation are effective, intriguing, and unobtrusive. The tunes ("Sway/Quien Sera," "Tico Tico," "Bumble Boogie") consist of great standards and lesser-knowns. The arrangements and performances are fresh and intense. The liner notes make a stab at suggesting the real worth of this album -- that she brings a sometimes frenetic passion, sensitivity, and perhaps innocence that her male counterparts (Contino, Cortese, Floren) lacked. But probably her bigger advantage was in not being a full-time accordionist. Perhaps she should have been.

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