I loves me some swing, some Tex Mex, some hot jazz, and some cool cowboy tunes, but it's not often ya kin get 'em all rolled up in one sweet lil disc, hombres. Cow Bop manages the entire package in a be-boppin' 12-cut chopsfest, 'cause this is even more a showcase of top flight musicianship than a venue for heel kickin' dance hall partying alongside a love song or three that can't help but capture a bit of boogie in all the purtified sweet talkin' (wait'll ya hear what Pinto Pammy 'n the boys do with Besame Mucho). Sure, ya gets those too, but, pardner, what Bruce Forman (guitar), Phil Salazar (fiddle), Alex King (bass), and Jake Reed (drums) can do with this material: hee-haw!…uh, garçon.
Yep, there's a mean swath o' the Frenchies in the Django rhythms of Forman and decanted Grapelli in Salazar, Paris by way of Houston. Then add in the estimable Roger Kellaway on piano for a coupla cuts, along with Allen Mezquida on sax (and way bitchin' cartoon art for the liner), and Joe Bagg grooving the organ on a cut apiece, and, well, we're all set to rollick. Comparisons to Dan Hicks, Asleep at the Wheel, the Asylum Street Spankers, and others can't be avoided here, 'n that's a real good thing, Luke, 'cause those several estimables are sweet oases in a world where this kind of music is all too readily ignored for radio trash and saccharinized jingles(whoops! hey, Madonna, didn't see ya behind me!). El Cumbanchero, an instrumental, adopts a highly progressive (and Spike Jones-y!) approach to the modes employed, siding out for Grant Geissmanesque runs from Forman inside a jumping night-jamboree beside the campfire.
The good times have rarely had it so hip-swaying, and these hot-to-turkey-trot baddest actors have already been recognized by such aficionados as Peter Coyote, the thespian, and Herb Jeffries, The Bronze Buckaroo. However, there's no rest for the weary, I'm afraid, 'cause you'll be sashaying, kitchen-waltzing, and boot scooting around the parlor from the moment this disc opens up until it winds back down again, whenceafter you can return to the humdrummery of the real world, if'n ya want…or you can play it again. I suggest the latter. I mean, who the fuck needs to get back to Rush Limbaugh? Not me...and where the hell did I lay down my cattle brand, anyway?
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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