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Sing Out! Magazine

Posted by on Jan 1, 2011 in Press, Reviews | No Comments

Currently taking a variety of San Diego’s hipper nightspots by storm with their delightfully unique arrangements of traditional jazz, blues and folk songs, the Dingbats are comprised of savvy and decidedly versatile guitarist David Bandrowski, the groups’ leader and producer of their debut CD, along with particularly dexterous acoustic bassist Doug Walker, and nimble, old timey and bluegrass oriented mandolin virtuoso Chris Clarke, plus marvelously moody harmonica stylist Dane Terry, who also leads his own Cadillac Wreckers outfit on off days.

The quartet’s off-the-cuff, improvisational approach to material ranging from Jelly Roll Morton’s bawdy “Buddy Bolden’s Blues”, the Tin Pan Alley classic “My Window Faces the South” (I never thought anyone could top Commander Cody’s version, but the Dingbats come close) and their hauntingly distorted interpretation of the traditional Gospel hymn “Blood of the Lamb” to a quick tempoed, festive rendition of Charlie McCoy’s heralded instrumental “Jackson Stomp” and a Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys-like take on Wynonie Harris’ ”Who Threw the Whiskey in the Well?” will have you thinking variously of Dawg music, gypsy jazz, Mardi Gras, juke joints and whatever music Robert Crumb is up to lately.

Other covers of public domain material that hit that sweet spot encompass a properly pedaling, instrumental reading of “South” (with great solo spots by all four), an ultra-mellow reshaping of “I want to Die Easy”, rendered in black string-band style a la The Mississippi Sheiks, along with a happy-go-lucky recall of that old dance-hall favorite, the foolhardily flirting “Bogalusa Strut”. If you appreciate the atmospheric music that bands like the Hot Club of Cowtown or the aforementioned Commander used to come up with, you should check these guys out.
– GvonT, Sing Out Magazine, Winter 2011

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