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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



The Hottest Man in Town

Lake LACD 228



1. I’m Wondering Who
2. The Hottest Man in Town
3. You’re the Cream in My Coffee
4. Passion
5. Dreamer’s Holiday
6. Palesteena
7. How Am I to Know?
8. Eddie’s Lullaby
9. Good Little, Bad Little You
10. Wide Awake
11. I Like to Do Things For You
12. Persian Rug
13. Ukelele Lady
14. Because My Baby Don’t Mean Maybe
15. Just Like a Melody
16. Stage Fright
17. Turn on the Heat
18. Raggin’ the Scale
Thomas "Spats" Langham – Banjo, guitar, ukelele, vocals
Norman Field – Clarinet, alto and C melody saxes
Keith Nichols – Piano (tracks 1, 4, 6-18)
Malcolm Sked – Sousaphone, double bass
Danny Blyth – Guitar (tracks 2, 4, 5, 7-9, 16, 18), mandolin (track 12))
Debbie Arthurs – Percussion, vocals
Nick Gill – Piano (tracks 2, 3, 5)

Who said vaudeville was dead? This album induces nostalgia for the old days, when songs were cheery and syncopation was rife. Spats Langham was born in 1971 but he confesses to a love of "old-fashioned music" and "classic jazz". So the album includes old songs like You’re the Cream in My Coffee (1928) and Ukelele Lady (1925) as well as classic jazz numbers like Palesteena (1920) and Raggin’ the Scale (1915).

In fact the album contains a variety of musical styles, including acoustic guitar duets (Passion and Stage Fright) and originals by Spats himself (Eddie’s Lullaby and Wide Awake). Langham displays his versatility on several instruments, especially the banjo, although his vocals are enthusiastic rather than polished. Debbie Arthurs also contributes some winsome vocals alongside her stylish drumming (though perhaps a little too fond of the woodblocks and gong). Norman Field is another versatile musician although, again, there is a certain amateurishness about his playing – a criticism which might be levelled at much of this CD. Perhaps we should simply accept this as a good-time album to be enjoyed rather than analysed too closely.

Tony Augarde

see also review by Jonathan Woolf


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