This is an absolutely cracking album. Fourteen tracks in the sparkling
effervescent style of the Roaring Twenties. Much of the material was played
to accompany silent films and of course many of these songs have been featured
in lots of films and TV programmes set in the 1920s. All the tracks are in
strict tempo and the ensemble playing is perfect and perfectly in accord
with the period - its as though you have travelled back in a time warp.
The opening number sets the mood with the bright and breezy title song "Puttin
on the Ritz" - note the cinematic reference in the line, "...dressed up like
a million dollar trouper trying hard to look like Gary Cooper, super-duper..."
"It Must be True" finds the Palm Court Orchestra in a more relaxed and sweetly
romantic mood enhanced by the ardent whistling of the Palm Court Orchestra's
Director, Anthony Godwin. We are woken from our dreams of true love by the
more urgent rhythms of "Toot, Toot, Tootsie" featuring the hottest violins
and brass in town. Shades of Ketèlbey in Arabian mode and of Rudolf
Valentino are summoned by "The Shiek of Araby" and how the boys camp it up
- even the horse gets a laugh! The ladies of The Stardust Trio invite us
to "Lets Get Friendly with their close harmony singing. Get those scintillating,
swooping, scooping voices! - And there's a touch of the Grapellis!
"Honeymoon Lane" rings those wedding bells and the violins lead in another
relaxed yet pointedly rhythmic romance. "Happy Feet" is deliriously happy
- six minutes of sheer vitality! This track is tremendous and if you can
keep still through it, you must be made of wood - and those hap, hap, happy
feet go tap, tap tap dancing over the wood of the dance floor. "Oh What A
Night" it was and the song of that name that follows is another wild party
in itself. We are in the wild and woolly west with "Roll Along Covered Wagon"
with a team of unimpressed horses that obviously always get the best of their
driver. Clonk those coconuts while singer, Davis Norton does his Gene Autry
Whippity-ee-i-o! "Ain't Misbehavin'", I wonder? I should think not by the
sound of this sexy, blowsy rendition - Hey-Ho! Warren & Dubin wrote the
songs for many of those wonderful Busby Berkeley musicals for Warner Bros.
"She's A Latin from Manhattan" comes from the1935 film, Go Into Your
Dance. 'She can take a tambourine and wack it, but with her its really
a racket' for Dolores, the Latin senorita from Havana is really Suzie Donohue
a hoofer from tenth avenue - saucy madame! No matter the Palm Courters bring
all their Latin temperament and instruments to celebrate her charms.
"Horatio Nicholls' Californian Serenade" is a happy, quickstepping winner
that must have delighted all the flappers, before the ladies of the Stardust
Trio return to delight us with "Loving You", yes please! - so sentimentally
sweet and persuasive how could I resist? The party ends with a rip roaring
rendering of "Tiger Rag." It's really great - bouncy and brimming with tingling
excitement. You simply will not be able to remain seated through this one.
Where's that tiger? Hold that Tiger!
I think that you may have got the impression that I think this is the best
thing since Mr Hovis put on his baker's apron? True, true, true!