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CD REVIEW: Joe Turley - When the Jitterbug Bites
By Ben Ohmart - 05/21/2007 - 10:34 AM EDT

Artist: Joe Turley
Genre: Pop
CD Review:
What is this thing called Turley? It be a combination of swing, blues, the original rock, Latin sex, big band and harmonic pop, with a nod toward the retro action of ‘Jump, Jive and Wail’. Maybe swing will never return in full color to dominate regular radio airwaves, but it won’t be from lack of good material. Joe’s seen to that.

The way Joe holds half a waver at the end of his vocalized sentences reminds me of a young, young Louis Armstrong. And he has that smile in his voice as he holds a note. He also knows how to put together a song, a sound, a band. He should. Leon Russell, Dolly Parton, Waylon and Willie, The Shirelles ­ he’s played with them all. Apart from being seen on everything from PBS to Hee Haw.

When you get to track 5 you’ll be impressed with Turley’s ability to drive all over the musical spectrum; this time the road turns onto a high-horned ‘Tango Mi Corazon’, almost like a Benny Hill break from the madness of 40s-50s rhythm. Gad, he has fun with this one. From the first breathy dialogue with the dark-haired beauty, to the stereo flute and twanging snap of naked (and not embarrassed) acoustic Spanish guitar. ‘And the stars lead the way as we dance into the night / As a mellow trombone serenades us in our flight.’

Back in the swing of things, the Dixieland start of ‘Like-I-Doo’ has the best walking bass on the cd, and the sorta dueling electric guitars prove this stuff wasn’t dug up from the tail end of the 40s. Nah. It jives with more love than a mere retro movement.

Yeah, therein lies the secret. Joe’s vast family of players are having so much FUN. Pictured on the 2nd page of the cd booklet, you’ll see how many people were involved. Over a dozen. And it sounds like it.

For the man who loves his old time radio, for the Frankie in us all, ‘Ging Ginga Ding’ and other brassy tracks are the bees knees. To quote from the first lyric ­ it says it all: ‘Got a crazy boogie woogie band / We rock the houses all across the land.’ Yeah, dad!

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