The Original Salty Dogs

New Orleans Shuffle

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When one thinks of jazz in the '60s, Dixieland is hardly the first thing that comes to mind. Jazz enthusiasts will always associate the '60s with modal post-bop, free jazz, and funky soul-jazz organ combos, but not Dixieland -- a style of jazz that reached its creative peak in the '20s. Nonetheless, plenty of Dixieland revivalists were still doing their thing in the '60s, including the Original Salty Dogs (who had been around since 1947). Demonstrating that worthwhile Dixieland did not end with Prohibition, this reissue focuses on two Salty Dogs appearances in the '60s. Nine of the reissue's 15 tracks were recorded at the Hinsdale Community Center in Hinsdale, IL, in 1966, while six previously unreleased bonus tracks are from a 1969 gig at Sloppy Joe's in Chicago. At both venues, the Salty Dogs are faithful to the spirit of '20s Dixieland. Few surprises occur, but the band is spirited and enjoyable on Dixieland staples like Jelly Roll Morton's "Wolverine Blues" and Bix Beiderbecke's "Davenport Blues." Most of the performances are instrumental, which is a good thing because the weak vocal on "Oh, Mama" is the reissue's low point. On the Dixieland revival circuit, it isn't uncommon for instrumentalists who are inferior vocalists to go ahead and sing anyway; however, they would do well to leave the singing to the experts and stick with what they do best: playing their instruments. But for the most part, New Orleans Shuffle is an enjoyable, if derivative, reissue that die-hard Dixieland fans will appreciate.

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