LITTLE CHARLIE BATY
AND ORGAN GRINDER SWING
ELLERSOUL RECORDS ELL 1605
SKRONKY TONK–HOW HIGH THE MOON–RECEITA DE SAMBA–NUAGES–PENNIES FROM HEAVEN–GERONTOLOGY–DJANGO–SWING TO BOP–BROADWAY–UM A ZERO–COBALT BLUES–MISTY–FLYIN’ HOME
Little Charlie Baty is one of the most inventive and expressive guitarists of our generation. He and vocalist/harpman Rick Estrin were the backbone of Little Charlie And The Nightcats, one of the most prolific and successful blues bands of the last quarter-century or so.
Charlie’s always had a thing for the jazz players, tho. During his days with the Nightcats, he always played some swing or jazz pieces, and almost released a jazz record while with Alligator Records, and again four years later, in France. The record biz is a fickle mistress, tho, and, for various reasons, neither of these sets were ever released. Now, thanks to the efforts of Watkins Ellerson of EllerSoul Records, the third time is indeed the charm, as Charlie has just relerased “Skronky Tonk,” thirteen instrumental interpretations of originals and classics, all ably backed by Organ Grinder Swing. They are Lorenzo Farrell on Hammond organ, and J. Hansen on drums.
As you listen, you’ll be captivated not only by Charlie’s fluid, swingin’ guitar lines, but also by the way Lorenzo deftly uses the Hammond for the bass parts, while Hansen keeps everything in perfect order. Charlie’s versatility is on full display, too. He opens with his bluesy original title cut, then flows effortlessly into the Latin touches of “Receita de Samba.” He does Django Reinhardt proud, with the subtleties of “Nuages,” and again with “Django,” written by John Lewis.
He gets his swing on, too. There’s Charlie Christian’s “Swing To Bop,” and the breezy set-closing vamp of “Flyin’ Home.”
We had two favorites, too. Charlie sho’ nuff nails that killer riff of the Les Paul chestnut, “How High The Moon,” with Hansen’s staccato drumming right on time. And, Lorenzo gets in some fine Hammond work alongside Charlie on Erroll Garner’s timeless “Misty.”
It’s great to see Little Charlie Baty realize his dream of releasing this album. Never straying far from his blues roots, “Skronky Tonk” shows the true caliber of player he really is! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.