'If You Were Gold Baby,' Gus Spenos Would Give You a Whirl on Wild Self-Released CD [REVIEW]

By Mike Greenblatt m.greenblatt@classicalite.com | Jun 19, 2016 12:40 PM EDT
Singer/songwriter/saxophonist/producer/neurologist Gus Spenos (Photo : Billy Rood)

Time for fun. If you want to jump, jive and wail, you could, of course, turn to Louie Prima. But he's dead. Gus Spenos is alive...wonderfully, wildly alive. This Indiana neurologist has self-released If You Were Gold Baby and he's garnered big-time trombonist Wycliffe Gordon to blow and arrange as the feather in this hat of swing, blues and boogie.

The 13 tracks bespeak an honesty and fundamental love of the material. Spenos is an inviting singer/songwriter who won't take long to get you on your feet. When he duets with Charenee Wade on "Rock With It Baby," sparks fly. He also produced and blows one hot sax. Plus, apparently, he's something of a musicologist. Lee Allen [1927-1994] was a New Orleans sax-blowing rock'n'roller from Kansas whose "Ivy League" and "Walkin' With Mr. Lee" come alive again. Jimmy Witherspoon [1920-1997] came out of Jay McShann's band in 1945 to have a long and successful career. Spenos revives his "Money's Getting' Cheaper" with verve, elan and class. There are certain tracks here-and I know this from personal experience-that you will want to play over and over again because they're just so delicious and feel-good. (I found myself dancing from the living room to the kitchen, almost making my wife drop a bowl of hot soup as a result. Moral of the story: watch where you dance.)

So if you're looking to step outside the constricting environs of your life and groove to some boppin' rockin' swingin' outrageousness that will make you move your body in ways you didn't even know you could...get down with some Gus Spenos. OR, if you're in the Indianapolis area and suffer from migraines...

(Doc Spenos is the first artist I've ever written about with no video to imbed. Thus, one of his main influences, Louie Prima, gets to rock your soul below and show you exactly what I'm talking about. Crank it up loud. And don't complain that it's not in hi-def.)

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