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Wednesday, August 12, 1998

Review - The Dirty Boogie

Artist: The Brian Setzer Orchestra

Posted on Wed, Aug 12, 1998 at 4:00 AM

Who might have figured that the creative force behind '80s rockabilly-revivalists the Stray Cats would someday front a genuinely swinging 15-piece big band? "The Dirty Boogie," Setzer's third foray into neo-swing, comes with at least a couple of gimmicks for those who don't know the difference between Count Basie and Count Chocula.

Gwen Stefani, charismatic lead singer of ska-rockers No Doubt, duets with Setzer on the Lieber and Stoller-penned "You're the Boss" -- originally a showcase for Elvis Presley and Ann-Margaret from the "Viva Las Vegas" soundtrack. Setzer cleverly fuses juicy chords from his hollow-bodied guitar with dense horn harmonies on a stomping update of "Rock This Town," which benefits from the golden touch of Frank Sinatra arranger Patrick Williams.

Setzer digs up standards like "This Old House," "Sleepwalk," "Jump, Jive an' Wail," "Since I Don't Have You" and other '50s and '60s gems, polishing and mixing them with similarly inclined originals for one of the few neo-swing efforts with serious musical muscle.

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