Back in the day, when the new school Swing era began, there were so many bands coming out of the woodwork. You had your commercial pop Swing such as Cherry Poppin’ Daddies and Big Voodoo Daddy, and of course Brian Setzer shot up out of obscurity and rode the wave, combining the big band sound of Swing with the Rockabilly style he and his Stray Cats had perfected eons ago. Then you had your quieter, more quality, here to stay groups like Royal Crown Revue, Indigo Swing, and even though they flirted with commercialism, The Squirrel Nut Zippers. Then just as fast as it had arrived it had disappeared. The stragglers that appeared sometime afterwards were good for maybe one regrettable pop hit before fading out to become a flash in the pan moment in the next VH1 special.
I still listen to my Swing albums now and again. They’ve even taken me further down the rabbit hole to discover bands from the original era when Swing was king. That kind of brings us to Louis Prima Jr. and the Witnesses (featuring Sarah Spiegel): Return of the Wildest. Prima Jr. and his band perform songs made famous by Prima Sr. and all of them are solid. Listeners who have never given Swing a shot will find themselves on their own journey loving the music and getting curious about where it comes from.
Louis Prima Jr. spent a lot of time playing his Father’s music in Las Vegas, sang with his sister when she was the singer for The Witnesses, and even fronted his own rock band in the 90’s titled Problem Child. He was raised on music, is a multi-instrumentalist, and has a wicked band backing him up. That and the fact that he has his Father’s blood running through his veins pretty much had me sold as far as his taking on his Father’s work and giving us something new. It’s an absolutely fantastic album that will bring Prima Sr. fans back to some pretty awesome memories as well as help create new ones for both the Father and the son.