Guitarist Guy Van Duser and clarinetist Billy Novick have recorded a number of straightforward duets together, including Every Little Moment and Guy and Billy. Even more than on their previous albums, Lovely Sunday Afternoon concentrates on the music and has only one vocal track. This leaves the listener with 43 minutes of swing instrumentals, with Van Duser and Novick trading leads on classics like "Make Me a Pallet on the Floor" and "A Closer Walk with Thee." This is happy music that harks back to an earlier time when bands played ragtime at the local pavilion while listeners ate their Sunday picnics. Standout pieces include the minor-keyed "New Orleans Farewell," an original by Novick, and "On Lovely Sunday Afternoon." Van Duser kicks off the second piece with a fine display of his guitar work. Since the clarinet is silent during his solos, he is left with the challenge of creating both rhythm and lead lines at the same time. He manages this feat by having the ability to solo with single notes, chords, or a combination of the two. He also adds a plethora of chords as a colorful backdrop whenever Novick solos. While the interplay between the two players is not overly complex, it is enjoyable. "Ready for the River" is the one vocal track, a rather humorous song about drowning oneself in the river. Lovely Sunday Afternoon succeeds by offering a slight variation on previous Van Duser and Novick albums and should be a delight to their fans.
AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.