Swampvoodoo- Gov. Mike Huckabee, Aaron Tippin and Friends- Jazz & Blues Collection

At the Wheel a' Betty


Slick Black Truck Drivin' Man plays the gi'tar and does the low volume mutterin'. T-Time provides the ground-thumpin' vibration, teaming with Dr. Dan who uses the voodoo beat stick. That leaves Gato to blow at the gates of Hell with his sax and harp. Does this information, gleaned from the liner notes of the new Swamp Voodoo E.P., make you think you're in for something special? You are correct, sir! Gato's groovy sax lines and Slick Black's understated vocals make opening track "Gravely Impo'tent," about an unscrupulous gravedigger, sound like a Commander Cody/Captain Beefheart mash-up while "Heartastake" could be Dr. John fronting a blues-rocking garage band. And "Cool as Can Be" sounds like Lou Reed gone swamp rock. Yup, special! Too bad there are only five cuts on this fun debut.

Gov. Mike Huckabee, Aaron Tippin and Friends
I Wanna Play

NAMM Foundation

The idea behind this charity compilation is to raise money to put musical instruments into the hands of every child in America. The brainchild of former Arkansas governor, talk show host and bass player Mike Huckabee and country music star Aaron Tippin, I Wanna Play features new interpretations of famous songs like the Stones' "Honky Tonk Women" performed by Ronnie Milsap, Tracy Lawrence's take on Merle Haggard's "The Fightin' Side of Me" and the gospel chestnut "Amazing Grace" covered by the Possum, George Jones. Huckabee adds bass parts throughout; Neil Sedaka, Ray Price, Darryl Worley and Lorrie Morgan are among the other contributors.

New Latin Quarter Presents: The Jazz & Blues Collection Volume I
Whitehouse Records

This various artists compilation mines the archives of the late legendary Tokyo nightclub the New Latin Quarter; the place in Japan to hear American and British singing stars from 1959 to 1989. The quality of the recordings is surprisingly good and some, like Nancy Wilson's swinging "The Man That Got Away," are phenomenal. Most of the recordings date to the early '60s and are Big Band-era standards performed by the likes of Louis Armstrong, Patti Page and the Harry James Orchestra. Chubby Checker and Bobby Troup are here too but they're not rocking; Checker does a schmaltzy version of "Georgia on My Mind" and Troup hits a jazz groove for "Route 66."

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