Big Bad Voodoo Daddy – How Big Can You Get (2009)

FrontCover1Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is a contemporary swing revival band from Southern California. Their notable singles include “Go Daddy-O”, “You & Me & the Bottle Makes 3 Tonight (Baby)”, and “Mr. Pinstripe Suit”. The band played at the Super Bowl XXXIII half-time show in 1999.

The band was originally formed in Ventura, California, in 1989 by leader Scotty Morris. The band was named Big Bad Voodoo Daddy after Scotty Morris met blues guitar legend Albert Collins at one of the latter’s concerts. “He signed my poster ‘To Scotty, the big bad voodoo daddy’,” Morris explains. “I thought it was the coolest name I ever heard on one of the coolest musical nights I ever had. So when it came time to name this band, I didn’t really have a choice. I felt like it was handed down to me”. He and Kurt Sodergren are the two original members, with the rest of the band joining later. The band has concentrated on the swing of the 1940s and 1950s, playing clubs and lounges in their early years.

After playing in punk and alternative rock bands during the 1980s, including False Confession part of the Oxnard, California Nardcore scene, Scotty Morris founded Big Bad Voodoo Daddy with Kurt Sodergren. The band launched two CDs, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Watchu’ Want for Christmas? under their own label (Big Bad Records) before getting their big break when their songs “You & Me & the Bottle Makes 3 Tonight (Baby)”, “I Wan’na Be Like You” and “Go Daddy-O” were featured in the soundtrack of the 1996 comedy-drama Swingers.

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From there, they were signed by Interscope Records. With Interscope, the band released Americana Deluxe, This Beautiful Life, and Save My Soul. The band has continued their tours, performances and album releases. The band appeared at the half-time show of Super Bowl XXXIII (January 31, 1999)[4] and the 2006 Capital One Bowl, and also served as the house band for ESPN’s ESPY Awards for a few years. The band created a version of the opening theme for the sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun, which was used for the 1998-1999 and 1999–2000 seasons.

They created a new song for the movie The Wild, and recorded a song for Disney’s Phineas and Ferb Christmas Vacation Special. BBVD also performed on the hit television show Dancing with the Stars, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno to promote their album How Big Can You Get?: The Music of Cab Calloway, a collection of their renditions of Cab Calloway songs in April 2009.[6] They also have been performing at EPCOT for the annual Food and Wine Festival since 2008. They performed at Kahilu Theatre, Waimea Hawaii and while Kurt was there he spoke of going to Scott’s house in Ventura and working on a new album beginning February 2019. (wikipedia)

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Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s reputation as a pop star styled retro-jazz band has to be enhanced and authenticated by this homage to the leading commercial proponent of jump, jive, and wailing swing in the ’30s and ’40s, Cab Calloway. The band, with its solid horn section and half-crazed vocal cops channeled through the Hi-De-Ho Man by Scotty Morris is faithful to the core from the originals. Though the band does not do all of Calloway’s big hits (missing are “Viper’s Drag,” “St. Louis Blues,” and “Kickin’ the Gong Around,” among many others), their selection of tunes is a delightful mix of favorites and some zingers, all well done in the style that made Calloway both revered and in some circles reviled. His overly dramatic songs are avoided, and fun is the operative word for these tunes that still are good to hear. Among the true blue covers: the definitive shuffle “Calloway Boogie” with the animated vocals of Morris, the energetic and stoned “Reefer Man,” the easy swinger “Hey Now” with the band’s vocal choruses, and the Gene Krupa bompity bomp beat tacked onto “Tarzan of Harlem.”

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There are two versions of the all-time classic “Minnie the Moocher,” one laid-back featuring growl trumpet, the other in a quicker mode with rhythms rolling along. “The Jumpin’ Jive” is pretty typical, a stomp-down rhythm identifies the title track, and a horse-drawn clippity clop beat steadies “The Old Man on the Mountain,” with phrases inserted similar to “Comes Love.” It’s clear that the band has always enjoyed these tunes and this era of jazz, and now that they have a bit of success under their belts, their desire to do a tribute close to their hearts is fully realized. Perhaps their March 2009 showcase on Dancing with the Stars playing vintage throwback swing also prompted this excursion way back to the roots. Their first recording in five years, it would seem Big Bad Voodoo Daddy have career longevity in mind, and a tribute to Louis Jordan, Slim Gaillard, or a second volume of Calloway’s tunes would also be in order for a future project. This recording comes easily recommended to their fans and early period jazz lovers.(by Michael G. Nastos)

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Personnel:
Karl Hunter (saxophone, clarinet)
Joshua Levy (piano)
Glen “The Kid” Marhevka (trumpet)
Scotty Morris (guitar, vocals)
Dirk Shumaker (bass, vocals)
Andy Rowley (saxophone, vocals)
Kurt Sodergren (drums)

Booklet

Tracklist:
01. Come On With The “Come On” (Gibson/Calloway) 3.22
02. Calloway Boogie (Gibson/Calloway) 34.03
03. The Call Of The Jitterbug (Calloway/Swayze/Mills) 3.30
04. Hey Now, Hey Now (Calloway/Hill) 4.35
05. The Jumpin’ Jive (Calloway/Frolba/Palmer) 4.02
06. How Big Can You Get? (Ram/Calloway) 4.06
07. The Old Man Of The Mountain (Brown/Young) 4.16
08. The Ghost Of Smokey Joe (Bloom/Koehler) 5.29
09. Reefer Man (Razaf/Robinson/Hoover/Roberts) 2.55
10. Minnie The Moocher (Calloway/Gaskill/Mills) 4.59
11. Tarzan Of Harlem (Ram/Nemo/Mills/Fein) 3.25

CD1

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Tray

Cab Calloway:CabCalloway01

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