Mannie and the Swingin' Hipshakers Off The Wall Jive

There's something cooking in Ottawa, but it has little to do with politics. Mannie and the Swingin' Hipshakers have fashioned a powerful blues recording that is billed as "jump swing," yet there's no reason to expand on that trendy notion. It's a bold, meaty and mature venture that makes the most of its power trio format, aided and abetted by hired guns Kid Ramos, Otis Grand and Lynwood Slim. The disc's best tracks, however, originate with the steamin' little trio themselves, including drummer Artie Makris's "Rhumba Rhumba," featuring big brother Mannie's near-lethal guitar lines and the slinky, low-down groove of "Love In Vain," showcasing the smooth, seductive rhythm section of both Artie and bassist Peter Sack. And despite a somewhat forced retro image, this is one impressive set of smokin' barroom blues by any definition. On the downside, it clocks in at only 35 minutes and it takes a few tracks to get going, but it soon sinks its teeth deep into the skin and won't let go. It's hard to believe so much music can come from a blues trio, and the combustible energy contained here must translate to a stage show like oxygen to open flame. There are a few stumbles, musically, but the guest appearances more than compensate for any holes, and the production quality is top-notch for any indie release. Theirs is an authentic blues groove, making the fact that this is their first release all the more exceptional. (Gold Plate)