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Consider It Swung

Tom Wopat

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Album Review

The fact that Tom Wopat sings in addition to acting will not come as a surprise to those who have been following his career for a long time; Wopat did his share of singing when he was playing Luke Duke on The Dukes of Hazzard from 1979-1985. But what might come as a surprise to those who still associate him with that Southern-themed drama/comedy is the type of music he has been emphasizing in the 21st century. Wopat recorded plenty of country-rock in the '80s and '90s, which was appropriate given the good ol' boy stereotypes that The Dukes of Hazzard celebrated. But the Wopat of the 2000s and 2010s has favored a vocal jazz/cabaret/traditional pop approach, and country is hardly the focus of Consider It Swung. The closest this 2009 recording comes to being country-influenced is Wopat's bluesy interpretations of Bobbie Gentry's "Ode to Billie Joe" and Delbert McClinton's "Maybe Someday Baby," but even on those songs, his outlook is more Mark Murphy than Conway Twitty or more Dave Frishberg than Ray Price. This is definitely a jazz-oriented effort (albeit a jazz-oriented effort with some cabaret-isms at times), and Wopat handles himself convincingly on a variety of material. Wopat performs a few Tin Pan Alley songs (including George Gershwin's "But Not for Me," Cy Coleman's "You Fascinate Me So," and Harry Warren/Al Dubin's "42nd Street"), but unlike others who operate in the vocal jazz/cabaret/traditional pop realm, he doesn't make the mistake of inundating listeners with a bunch of overdone Tin Pan Alley warhorses that have been recorded by literally hundreds of artists over the years. Wopat (who turned 58 in 2009) also finds the jazz possibilities in Blood, Sweat & Tears' "Spinning Wheel," Steely Dan's "Deacon Blues," and Joni Mitchell's "Two Grey Rooms." And it should be noted that his version of "42nd Street" is a real surprise; instead of giving that standard the type of uptempo exuberance it usually receives, Wopat offers a post-bop version that is slow, haunting, and surprisingly moody. Not without its share of surprises, Consider It Swung is a rewarding non-country effort from the former Dukes of Hazzard star.

Biography

Born: 09 September 1951 in Lodi, WI

Genre: Jazz

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

Overwhelmingly known as "The Smart Cousin" Luke Duke, on the '70s TV show The Dukes of Hazard, Tom Wopat has also worked hard at establishing himself in the musical theater community. Born on a small dairy farm in Lodi, WI, Wopat began singing and dancing in school musicals when he was 12 years old. Upon graduating high school, he enrolled at the University of Wisconsin in Madison to study music, and balanced his time between productions of West Side Story, Jesus Christ, Superstar, and South Pacific,...
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Consider It Swung, Tom Wopat
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