The Jive Aces – DIGGIN’ THE ROOTS, Vol.1; ROCKIN’ RHYTHM & BLUES.
Reissued, 2022 (first released 2017), on Golden Age Recordings label. Reviewer: Warren Voight, 3rd August 2023 Buy the album here: https://jiveaces.org/product/221142
The 12th and latest album marks the 20th anniversary of this Jive Aces line up. The album was inspired by the band’s early influences such as Big Joe Turner, Louis Jordan, Ruth Brown and Louis Prima (their single biggest influence) ,who ignited the flame that’s still burning bright for the UK’s #1 Jive and Swing band. Founded by Vocalist Ian Clarkson, the Jive Aces are:
Drummer - Pete Howell Bassist - Ken Smith Saxophonist - “Big” John Fordham Trombone, Bongos, Blues Harp & Washboard - Alex Douglas Accordion - Grazio Clarkson
1. Rock’n’Roll Movie Star; The album kicks off in style with a great original by Ian Clarkson. Lots of great lyrics and instrumentation with all the hallmarks of a great swing and R’n’B track, in a song about a Rock’n’Roll Movie Star and hot rods, the perfect combo !
2. Feelin’ Happy; A great cover of the B-side to Big Joe Turner’s 1959 single, ‘You’ll Be Sorry’. The backing echo’s a typical Big Joe number with same punchy swing and starts with lyrics pretty close to Chuck Berry’s later hit, Back In the USA.
3. He Treats Your Daughter Mean; With guest vocals from Leading Ladies trio member Cassidy Janson who does justice to Ruth Brown’s signature song on this cover.
4. No.13 (Fruit Boots); An instrumental with great sax from “Big” John Fordham, I love the Slap Bass too on this number which was written originally by Red Prysock the famous US Tenor Saxophonist.
5. Choo, Choo, Ch’Boogie; The Louis Jordan #1 from 1946, co written by Mit Gabler, Denver Darling and Vaughn Horton. The Jive Aces are tight on this one, great vocals with a smooth swing and rhythm, very cool !
6. Giddy Up A Ding Dong; Singer, Guitarist and Graphic Artist Chris Wilkinson features as guest vocalist on this cover of the 1956 Freddie & the Bell Boys song.
7. Bad News; The second original on the album, written by Drummer Pete Howell and it fits seamlessly with the rest of the album.
8. Alright, You Win; This one originally recorded in 1955 by Red Prysock, is covered in a great version by the Jive Aces of some early Rock’n’Roll and features some nice Blues Harp !
9. I Want You To Be My Baby; A Jon Hendricks composition, originally recorded in 1953 by Louis Jordan, but this version (sung for the Jive Aces by Cassidy Janson) surpasses the 1955 Georgia Gibbs version with some brilliant scat jazz vocals.
10. Rock’n’Roll Boogie; Co written by Jazz & R’n’B Guitarist, composer and conductor Leroy Kirkland with Tenor Sax player and composer Freddie Mitchell, this slightly obscure track gets some nice treatment by the Jive Aces.
11. Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens; Another Louis Jordan classic from 1956 covered so brilliantly by the Jive Aces.
12. Jump, Jive ‘n’ Wail; The great Louis Prima swing/jive/rock’n’roll crossover classic, released on his 1956 ‘Wildest’ album and later covered by the Brian Setzer Orchestra in 1998. But considering the smaller Jive Aces combo size, this is a cool version with great Sax and Piano.
13. Loch Lomond; The bonus track on the album, is (at first listen), a bit of an oddity with its ‘mock Scot’s’ accent vocal on a trad Scottish song , but it morph’s into a great wee swing track. A very clever touch by the Jive Aces!
Summary; In all honesty, I was a bit of a Jive Aces virgin prior to hearing this album, but was quickly wooed and converted by their sheer brilliance and tightness, both as a band and individually. It’s a great album with a very well chosen selection of tracks that incorporate their style influences and seamlessly include a couple of original songs of their own that don’t sound out of place. The album is available as a special ‘limited collectors’ edition’ on double vinyl album.
Recommendation; If you like early Swing/R’n’B or bands like the Brian Setzer Orchestra, treat yourself and buy it, a vinyl copy would be a worthy addition to any collection!
Reviewed by Warren Voight from Dunedin, New Zealand, a music historian, collector, songwriter and presenter of 360 DEGREES ‘ROUND WAZROCK on Otago Access Radio 105.4 FM orMy Paper doc