…the moonlight, the good times or indeed the boogie. Not least because I’m not actually here to talk to you today about Disco; but vaguely about Rock; and mostly about Swing…of all things. Yeh, you heard me…Swing. That’s Swing as in Bennie Goodman and Count Basie. Not the type of playground apparatus you push your kiddie-winkies (higher) on.
(If you do feel the need to blame someone for this post btw, I guess I could throw my son-in-law Gareth at the mercy of the court. He introduced me to this gem a few months back. But please give it a chance first, before you judge us both too harshly. It’ll at least put a smile on ya face for novelty value if nothing else).
Behave! I have not finally flipped. Bear with me a mo’. I’m just trying to figure out how the hell I begin explaining…or perhaps justifying this particular musical recommendation. ;o)
As is often the case with my musical discoveries these days, this one ain’t exactly what you’d call a recent release. It actually appeared in stores back in 2005. So, again, another rather belated review. But in my defense, I was only vaguely aware of Paul Anka as a crooner from the late 50s, early 60s. (He actually penned the English lyrics to Frank Sinatra’s My Way. Now there’s something I didn’t know).
It’s not like I was old enuff to follow his career from gramophone, to record player, to tape, eight-track, cassette, CD, mini-disc and most recently mp3. I’m kinda surprised the sucka’s still belting out the tunes, ‘stead of sitting in a rocking chair. Must be related to Highlander or something. (No disrespect Mr. Anka…please don’t chop me melon off).
Anyway, I digress. Let’s just say: my old man instilled in me a variety of musical tastes; from a very early age. But I’m pretty sure that Swing did not feature anywhere in the mix. As I say, Gaz introduced me to this particular album, via YouTube (as is oft the case. “Düde, check this out!”) And I’m glad he did.
It’s not like I’m usually into cover versions, which in essence is what this album comprises btw. (If I wanted karaoke, I’d get drunk with a few mates and head down town to Lauschuli’s). The only covers I do occasionally like are those that give an interesting spin on the original. (Like several tracks on Johnny Cash’s American IV: The Man Comes Around, the Gary Jules cover of Mad World or Taken by Trees rendition of Sweet Child O’ Mine).
I’d also suggest the album’s title should’ve been Pop Swings, but then I guess that wouldn’t have had quite the same impact. Anka covers tracks as varied as: Love Cats, Black Hole Sun, Wonderwall and Eye of the Tiger (don’t let that last one put you off). Giving them all a unique Swing treatment. (So that’s interesting spin camp…not karaoke fodder).
Whilst this is the only Swing album I may ever own; I can say that it makes one appreciate the effort that went into producing such completely new arrangements for songs that most would struggle not to butcher. It also says something about the lyrics of a well crafted song, when someone can radically switch styles like this and the music still holds up.
Check this one out for starters. I mean how outrageous can ya get? ;o)
Not sure what mood I’d recommend you be in before listening to the whole album actually? I think if there’s a Karaoke version of the disc out there, it’d probably go down well after a few scoops with the gang. It’d certainly give your party a welcome boost compared to the usual Abba stand-bys.
As for me, this somehow brings back childhood memories of Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Hollywood musicals starring Gene Kelly. So perhaps I’ll drag it out for another spin this Christmas. Too bad I haven’t got an open fire to enjoy my egg-nog by. ;o(