Various Artists

Juke Joint Jive: Go Daddy Go

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Most of the music that came out of the retro-swing craze of the 1990s (Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, the Cherry Poppin' Daddies, etc.) wasn't swing in the sense that Benny Goodman, Count Basie, or Artie Shaw were swing -- it was rock & roll mixed with jump blues. Released in 1999, Juke Joint Jive: Go Daddy Go was among the many compilations that attempted to cash in on the craze. Some of those compilations focused on '90s artists, while others offered real swing from the swing era; this CD is an example of the latter. You won't find anything by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy or the Squirrel Nut Zippers on Juke Joint Jive, which looks back at the '30s, '40s, and '50s with big-band jazz as well as jump blues, jive, early R&B, and even some early rock & roll. The 18-song collection is far from the last word on swing or jump blues: how could it be without anything by Louis Jordan, Duke Ellington, or Artie Shaw? But it does contain some true classics from that era, including Cab Calloway's "Minnie the Moocher," Louis Prima's "Sing, Sing, Sing," Count Basie's "Swingin' the Blues," and Big Joe Turner's "Shake, Rattle and Roll." Right Stuff's choices range from good to excellent, and its digital remastering gives many 78-era recordings a nice, clean sound as opposed to the type of scratchiness that pre-1950 recordings are known for. The thing that's really frustrating and problematic about the album is its lack of recording dates -- had Juke Joint Jive come from the meticulous Rhino, chances are that recording dates would have been included. So while Juke Joint Jive gets high marks for sound quality and choice of material, Capitol's Right Stuff label needs to be chastised for failing to provide recording dates. The label should have known better.

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