Jake Leg Stompers, Up to No Good (Hoodoo Records)

There is a swagger to the Jake Leg Stompers. They play their version of old timey music and make it relevant to this day and age. It may be old timey, but it’s not elderly. This is party music from the last century to this current one. There is the ribald syncopated oompah of the “Fourth Street Mess Around” that lives up its title and more slow dragging sexy warning of the standard “Women Be Wise.” Vocals courtesy of Lisa Cook and Bill Steiber combine a sly delivery both masculine and feminine. They touch on the bedrock styles of American music such as the ballad “Mackie Messer” (a version of “Mack the Knife” complete with saw), the rollicking piano rocking “Dirty Dozens” and the spiritual “Sheep Sheep.” There is a lot of spiritual on this record, but there’s also a lot of sinning with the rueful “Adam and Eve” and the album closer “Taint Nobody’s Business.” Those two yin and yang energies rule this record even up to the title, “Up To No Good.” There’s a lot of lustily sung choruses and shouted exhortations behind the melodies, and that’s a great part of the record. One of the recurring popular fads (and a good one in that) is the hard strummed guitars, harmony of vibrato strings, and passionate singing of the Avett Brothers, Mumford and Sons, and others working that loud acoustic instrument groove. The Jake Leg Stompers got that angle covered with an almost drunken enthusiasm even on the more down numbers. And they cap their subversive humor with a Shel Silverstein song that brings all this good crazy music to a smoking climax.


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    If you enjoy good country songs, few comedy songs, some (being a nut) comedy songs, you have to enjoy this band. A good overall enjoyble group. Some time ago, I saw them at Tarkington’s store. The lady that sings the song bout the cabbage head old man is a show in itself.