Jack Grace Band – What a Way To Spend a Night
With an approach of a straight noir, cocktail lounge-sensibility parallel to Tom Waits & applied with a similar whiskey-soaked voice, Brooklyn-born Jack Grace slips suddenly into a vaudeville piano along with a lite Dixieland style brass on “The Monster Song,” — a delight. His journey to the songs is fascinating & includes a trip to The UK.
Maintaining the lounge lizard cool of Chuck E Weiss on “You’d Be Disappointed (If I Didn’t Disappoint You),” Grace with a well-worn 1947 Gibson LG-2 decorates his showcase in retro sound pumped with liberal doses of Cab Calloway flexibility running through it, a Chet Atkins/Les Paul feel & still possesses the richness of bands like the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies or Royal Crown Revue. I like it.
There are 11-cuts on the new Jack Grace Band – What a Way To Spend a Night CD (Radia Records-Drops June 25). Each track is superbly arranged. Recorded in the UK the ambiance was not lost on the old-world musical tinge. 4-time Emmy winning arranger J Walter Hawkes wrote the horn arrangements & his parts were tracked in his Long Island City, NY studio. Never stops amazing me how all these songs are pieced together with technological paperclips, tape & spit, then sound magical.
All songs were written by Grace & the 37-minute CD was produced by Jack Grace & Tom Bainbridge.
Sometimes the shortest song on an LP can be the most memorable – “I’m a Burglar” is that one for me. Jack’s vocals are splendid. NYC singer-songwriter/vocalist/producer Tony Powers back in 1981 had a similar vocal style on his solo EP “Don’t Nobody Move (This is a Heist).” Powers, of course, wrote many early pop hits & wrote top 10 songs for various artists.
Grace continues in this style with the dynamic “Bearded Man,” that sounds like the late Willy DeVille may have written it. “Nobody Brought Me Nothing” is a scorching rocker in the old tradition. Quite likable.
At times the CD doesn’t toss the dice on originality as much as just perform standard strong songs with hat tips to the Average White Band, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Malo & other pop horn-based bands that struck gold in the late 60s. Grace can sing anything with his sandpapered voice because he exudes sincerity through his lyrics. A novelty-oriented song “Mr. Sanderson & Sons Amazing Secret Traveling Show” is actually turned in wonderfully poignant. As clever as The Beatles’ “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite.” Enjoyable with the accordion dressing it up in a European street flavor.
Musicians: Jack Grace (vocals/guitar/slide/harmonica), Fabian Bonner (bass), Ian Griffith (drums), The Broken Mariachi Horns: J. Walter Hawkes (trombone), Chris Lucca (trumpet), Bill Malchow (piano/organ/Rhodes/viola & accordion).
Sample song @ https://www.jackgrace.com/ + CD Available @ Amazon