- Who's That Knocking?
- I'm Making Believe
- My Blackbirds Are Bluebirds Now
- Don't Be Like That
- If I Had A Talking Picture Of You
- You're A Heavenly Thing
- The Right Kind Of Man
- Fit As A Fiddle
- It All Depends On You
- Tiptoe Through The Tulips
- It's The Talk Of The Town
- Them There Eyes
- Under The Moon
- Yes, Sir That's My Baby
- What I Wouldn't Do For That Man
- One Sweet Letter From You
- Lovable And Sweet
- You Wouldn't Fool Me
Debbie Arthurs' Sweet Rhythm; Debbie Arthurs (vocals and percussion), Trevor Whiting (clarinet and saxophones), Spats Langham (guitar, banjo, ukulele, vocals), Martin Litton (piano), Andy Woon (cornet), Mike Piggott (violin) and Malcolm Sked (double bass and sousaphone)
rec. February 2010, Nordern Farm Centre for the Arts, Maidenhead
I've extolled the virtues of Debbie Arthurs before. Her interest in Annette Hanshaw is an abiding one and as I wrote in that previous review her singing is marked by `clear refinement, no ersatz American accent and a fine appreciation of period style.' There are 18 tracks in this latest disc from her and her Sweet Rhythm, and as ever the 20s songbook has been mined with discrimination and a focus on Hanshaw.
This is a congenial and stylistically aware band. With men such as
Martin Litton, Spats Langham, Mike Piggott and Trevor Whiting on hand
it could hardly be otherwise. Violinist Piggott makes a spirited contribution
to Who's That Knocking? whilst Langham, who loves Ukelele Ike,
adds his singing chops to I'm Making Believe.
Don't Be Like That is a vital and energising opus and gets
peppy hot breaks. Andy Woon's trumpet is tightly muted and marvellous
Malcolm Sked's sousaphone is appositely sepulchral. Charm is evident
in If I Had A Talking Picture Of You and Fats Waller haunts
Litton's Stride playing in You're A Heavenly Thing as indeed
it does in the rather over-fulsome support he offers on It All
Depends On You to Woon's fragile-sounding trumpet. Do Litton and
Arthurs really agree on the tempo? Maybe I'm wrong, but I sense she
would have preferred a slightly slower one.
Tiptoe through the Tulips works surprisingly well, lightly etched by percussion, trumpet and piano. Woon's Bixian phrasing on Them There Eyes is mixed with a rather thicker vibrato than his model, whilst clarinettist Trevor Whiting takes a bluesy solo on What I Wouldn't Do For That Man. Ensembles are varied, and textures too, and throughout Arthurs's pure, crystalline and unaffected singing ensures - along with her percussion work, and the fine recording balance - that period manners remain apposite and hugely enjoyable.