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The Golden Age of Lounge (Studio)

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Album Review

Despite its title conjuring up images of little umbrellas in drinks while Martin Denny gets exotic, former British Invasion singer/pianist Ian Whitcomb (1966's "You Turn Me On") puts together a 16-piece orchestra around his piano and ukelele work and comes up with a wonderful batch of new recordings of very old material. The pre-World War I, vintage style and playing are spot-on and reasonably well recorded, collecting tracks cut between 1982 and 1997 from no less than five different recording locations (one being the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, which produced "Lotusland [A Rag of Southern California]") that nonetheless sound like they were recorded at a single session. Seventeen tracks of old-time music often played with unusual instrumentation (musette accordion, dobro guitar) that brings fresh sparks to such chestnuts both familiar and obscure as "Amapola," "A Little Street Where Old Friends Meet," "Who Made Little Boy Blue?," "Same Old Moon, Same Old June (But Not the Same Old You)," and instrumental versions of "Rose Room," "Moon Over Waikiki," "Sol Tropical," "Nola," "Rolling With the Quake" and a duet with Whitcomb's wife Regina on "The Teddy Bears' Picnic." You'll likely never hear any of this album on the radio simply because they haven't devised a format that accomodates anything that sounds quite like this.

Biography

Born: 10 July 1941 in Woking, Surrey, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

An odd footnote to the British Invasion, English singer and pianist Ian Whitcomb formed his R&B group Bluesville in Dublin, Ireland. He never had a hit in the U.K. and wasn't all that wild about rock & roll in the first place, preferring traditional forms of blues, ragtime, and Tin Pan Alley. But "You Turn Me On" -- a tongue-in-cheek three-chord knockoff at the end of a session with exaggerated falsetto vocals and an unforgettable orgasmic vocal hook -- hit number eight in America in 1965, and Whitcomb...
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The Golden Age of Lounge (Studio), Ian Whitcomb
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