Today’s music pick in the 2017 PopCult Gift Guide is a real treat for fans of Swing Music. As the host of The Swing Shift on The AIR, you know that includes me. I was gobsmacked a few months ago when I discovered that Louis Prima’s son was touring with a new band that pays tribute to his father’s music, and that they’d released two albums in recent years. I totally missed out on that. I need to pay better attention. I’m going to recommend both albums for the Swing Music lover on your holiday shopping list.
In 2012 Louis Prima Jr. and The Witnesses released the album, Return of the Wildest!, featuring vocalist Sarah Spiegel. This album saw the band tearing through several songs made famous by Louis Prima Sr. and launched the band on a cool trajectory that saw them play all over the world.
Building off of the success of their critically acclaimed debut CD, Return of the Wildest!, the band injected many years of diverse musical tastes into their second offering, BLOW — a collection of original music (save for a couple of surprises) as eclectic and unique as each member of this powerhouse band, which now includes vocalist Leslie Spencer. From the first thunderous stomps of the title track, it is evident that this ain’t your daddy’s swing music.
BLOW is a killer portrait of Prima Jr. and his band, The Witnesses. As energetic and over-the-top as their live shows, BLOW continues the ever-changing musical journey that Prima Sr. began in the ’30s. “With the band’s collective talents and diverse musical tastes, we wind up with a sound unique to this band, while staying true to the boisterous Prima style,” says Louis. “We didn’t set out to simply write music we thought the fans wanted to hear. We wanted to challenge ourselves musically and also challenge the listener. You can’t fool the fans by trying to force the word ‘daddy-o’ into every song. If music does not come honestly from your soul, it will ultimately be short lived.”
With BLOW LPJ and The Witnesses jump into the forefront of the Swing Revival movement, which is gaining steam once again and could well be the next big thing…again. Let’s hope.
I’ve been playing tracks from both albums on The Swing Shift, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. If you have a Swing Music lover on your holiday shopping list, you can find both albums at Amazon and visit his website for a sample of his music and tons of videos of the band in action.