FAME is actually the acronym for the “Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange” on acousticmusic.com. We’re delighted with critic Mark S. Tucker’s FAME review of Dot Dot Dot…especially as it regards Marilyn’s dramatic effect on the fictional Father Flaherty:
Don’t let the Dot Dot Dot CD title or the non-descript moderne cover artwork fool you. Chaise Lounge doesn’t engage in Kraftwerky bleep blopp music nor synth-drenched electronica, nor even minimalist glitch, but instead a return to the groovy elder cool of the 50s and before. Not the zany looniness of Spike Jones but the cut-up hipsterism of Louis Prima and ilk, much more mannered and urbane than Jones but just as enjoyable in its own way. There’s plenty of swing, era jazz, jivin’ jump, and that sort of thing, all of it led by a cat named, now get this, Charlie Barnett. Yep, just one little ‘t’ away from the great Charlie Barnet of bygone fame.
The song “Dot Dot Dot” isn’t about any dot.com, it’s not an ellipsis, nor even a sing-song redundancy but a reference to Morse code, an element of the S.O.S. distress signal, here applied to a metaphorical ship sinking in the sea of love, a way hip cut with Marilyn Older singing in her perennially slinky, sultry, sexy near-babydoll voice beside five highly talented and letter perfect instrumentalists (clarinet, trombone, drums, guitar, bass). Older’s sensuality would make a bishop sweat bullets, grow red in the face, and kick out a stained-glass window, but Barnett (guitar, piano, accordion, tenor banjo) and the boys ice the situation back down, putting the hold-on to the go-on as Father Flaherty hip-sways a little jig back to the sacristy to doff the vestments and deck out in reet pleat and pompadour.
Apparently the concert audience favorite is “The Coolest Car,” an infectious tune, but I’m going for “I Just Want All of my Stuff,” just as humorous but of the sort that drives home what happens when two lovers meet, love, lose, split, part, and get down to brass tacks:
I just want all my stuff
My TV and my Xbox and the records I love
You can keep your dreams
And your precious self esteem
I just want all of my stuff
…and, man o man, I think Barnett was listening in on a couple of my own romantic flame-outs. Everything’s not all grins ‘n’ giggles, though, as “Split in Two (Wreckage)” is a dead-set serious ballad of a marriage gone terribly wrong, sung in a light wistful tone but weighted down with confusion and memories, the good against the bad, wondering what the heck happened. This is the penultimate number, a superb and thoughtful but heart-panged track, just before a speedy instrumental version of “Old Man River” closes everything out.
Our thanks to Doug Boynton of Girl Singers for this enthusiastic review of our new record:
Still working to make retro modern, this east coast band scores again. Outstanding musicians. Smart lyrics. A vocalist who knows how to both sing and play with the lyrics.
And best of all, they all seem to be having a lot of fun.
Lyrics (“I Just Want All of My Stuff”) like:
He wishes all the best for me
And hopes I’ll move on soon
Well I’ve got myself a rental truck
And I’ll be out by noon.
Who pulls this off? Marilyn Older gives the voice to Charlie Barnett’s lyrics, always taking the high road, throwing this stuff off with a straight face. In the process, she gives new life to old classics like West Side Story’s “Cool,” or a very uptempo “Via Con Me,” with English lyrics to Paolo Conte’s Italian classic that’s been covered more than two dozen times in the past 30 years.
But while covers can pay the rent, it’s the original stuff that gets noticed. Mr. Barnett has the material, and Ms. Older delivers the goods.
It would be a disservice not to say that for me, Ms. Older’s vocals are the capper to a versatile group that includes Pete Ostle on bass, Joe Jackson on trombone, Tom Barrick on drums, and Gary Gregg on sax and clarinet. They’re able to take this kind of material – and in a world that’s been Mad Men-ed to death, pay homage to both the past, and to make it sound fresh, too. The band shows their stuff on two instrumentals, one the original (Mr. Barnett, again) “Señor Hueso,” the other on a very uptempo “Old Man River.”
Highest recommendation for this sixth disc from this band.
The first review for Dot Dot Dot is in, and it’s a doozie. Thanks, Chris Spector of Midwest Record!
Not only does this crew just keep getting cooler each time out, the retro times have caught up to them, as this is so in the ‘Mad Men’ pocket that it’s impossible to figure out which end of the retro-neuvo spectrum is which. A throwback to groovy jazz firing up the suburbs, everyone here is so on the money that it’s mind blowing. Charlie Barnett writes great stuff. Marilyn Older has a total knack for these vocals. The rest of the crew that first turned up for a one-off lark is right in step with the whole thing. Jaded tastes that just need to come flying out of the box with some fun will really appreciate this set, the group’s sixth outing that really moves them into the gold circle. Offbeat, sly and solidly performed, this set will reside on any hip adult’s hit parade for quite some time. Hot stuff throughout.
Charlie Barnett recalls just where he was in 1974. click here
Liane Hansen, Marilyn Older,Charlie Barnett
Where is Dick Cavett?
Charlie and Marilyn talk about Second Hand Smoke with NPR’s Liane Hansen. Click here
Had a great rehearsal in preparation for the “Marquee” tour of Maryland. One of the most fun parts of it was getting a handle on Marilyn’s new song. You heard that right, my friends! Mo has a new tune for you. We will be springing that one on you in the summer. Can’t wait to play in Baltimore tomorrow night at the Patterson and at Bethesda’s new club, Bethesda Blues and Jazz on Saturday night.