CLUCK OLD HEN - A BARNYARD SERENADE 1926-1940
Old Hat (OHCD1009)
Riley Puckett, Earl McDonald's Original Louisville Jug Band, Cliff Carlisle, Beale Street Sheiks, Dixieland Jug Blowers, Utica Institute Jubilee Singers, Gene Autry, Sweet Papa Stovepipe, Six Jumping Jacks, Binkley Brothers Dixie Clodhoppers & more.
Old Hat as a label can hardly be deemed as prolific, averaging as they do less than one new release a year. When they do come up with a new CD you know you are onto a winner, and this is no exception.
Recent CDs have tended to follow a particular theme, last year's Barbeque Any Old Time being a particular favourite of mine and many Red Lick customers who bought it by the bucket-load (very nearly a play on words here!). This time up the theme is America's favourite domestic fowl, the chicken. Or, as detailed in the impressive booklet that comes with the CD, ‘two dozen musical selections comprising breakdowns, and frolics, folk songs and blues, parodies and imitations, double-entendres, jubilees, minstrel sketches and tunes of Tin Pan Alley'.
This succinct but accurate summary of the contents means I don't have too waste much time explaining what it includes and can instead focus on extolling the virtues of the music. So, let me extol awhile....
One of the first sides that had me rushing to the repeat button on first hearing is Harry Reser's Six Jumping Jacks There's A Trick In Pickin' A Chick-Chick Chicken, a droll novelty number that is sung in front of a magnificent hot jazz band that the flappers and the dandies would have gone a bomb on when it was recorded in 1927. The spare finger picking (or, in this context, plucking) of Gene Autry on Stay Away From My Chicken House is also a delight in which potential adversaries are advised that any messing with his chicken house (double-entendre alert) will result in them being cut up Mexican-style (not sure what exactly this means but it can't be healthy).
Another highlight is the Dixieland Jug Blowers Hen Party Blues track which magnificently incorporates the great sounds of renowned New Orleans jazz clarinettist, Johnny Dodds, into a jug based feast. And anything with Frank Stokes has to be a winner and here he appears with Dan Sane as the Beale Street Sheiks on Chicken You Can Roost Behind The Moon.
I'd love to go on because I've still got plenty of extolling left in me on this one. But space and time is against. Suffice to say, it's another massively enjoyable set.
Review Date: January 2013