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Oh Brother Where Art Thou?

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Album Review

The lounge/indie pop band known as the Legendary Jim Ruiz Group made waves with this 1995 disc on Chicago's Minty Fresh Records. Led by Jim Ruiz, the six-piece band storms through a dozen blissful songs fueled by lounge, jazz, and pop. Despite the band bearing Ruiz's namesake, the music is a team effort, with Stephanie Winter-Ruiz adding a lush backing vocal on the opener, "Mij Amsterdam," and Chris Ruiz adding a jazzy alto sax to the second track, "My Bloody Yugo." Winter-Ruiz takes the lead vocal duties on the bossa nova-inspired "Spain." The clean instrumentation and vocals on songs like "Be My Valentine" and "She's Gone Away" are slightly reminiscent of Combustible Edison and fellow Chicago band the Coctails. The jazzy organ on "Lucht" is followed by a haunting alto sax line by Brian Tighe on the disc's final track, "Oh Porridge." The disc features a wealth of guest musicians, including guest appearances on drums, bass, saxophone, and guitar. Drummer Bryan Hanna, bassist Charlotte La Bonne, and guitarist Matt Gerzema round out the group. The sublime and carefree tones on Oh Brother Where Art Thou? solidified the band as leaders of the lounge pop scene.

Customer Reviews

13 years going strong

I've been listening to this album ever since it came out, 13 years ago now! It's my go-to for my every changing mood: romantic, lush, bossa-nova, sarcastic, deeply bookish, everything. Mr. Ruiz is the perfect adenoidal lounge singer, and his wife the dreamiest (as in blissed out on honey-lemon Vicks dreamy) ever. If you like "Eden"-era Everything But The Girl, Jazz Butcher, Style Council, Cardigans, Coctails or Combustible Edison, you will love this album.

A masterwork about finding hope in despair

If you like Aztec Camera, the Style Council, Lloyd Cole... If you feel life is bittersweet, brutal, and delicious, all at the same time... If you can tolerate a little punk smashed together with a little jazz... If you're partial to hearts worn on sleeves... If you've ever pressed on your bruises, just to feel something... Jim and co.'s song cycle about a young man finding himself, losing love, rediscovering happiness, and confronting mortality is one of my favorite records of all time. Well worth your time, money, and love...

A must for the collection

A great CD. Different. Original and great background music for the party. Each song flows into the next.

Biography

Formed: 1992

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Drawing on a vast tapestry of influences spanning from pop to soul to new wave to bossa nova, the Legendary Jim Ruiz Group was led by the self-same singer/guitarist Ruiz in tandem with his wife Stephanie. Debuting in 1995 with Oh,...
Full Bio
Oh Brother Where Art Thou?, The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group
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