It might be a little late to think about what to get that special hipster on
your list for Christmas, but it's never too late to think about what you're
gonna get when you go to the store to return that Michael Bolton CD your aunt
got you. The folks at Rhino Records know how you feel, and they want to make
sure you're not left crying in your martini, but they also want to make sure
that you know the Cocktail Nation wasn't born around the time you switched from
a leather jacket to a shiny suit a few years ago.
Jackpot! The Las
Vegas Story is the perfect crib sheet for aspiring hipsters and hipstettes
who might be interested in knowing where bands like Combustible Edison and the
Squirrel Nut Zippers got their education. Sure, you can go down to the local
swing club (which probably used to be the local coffee shop, and years before
that, the local disco joint) and act wonderful to the strains of some new,
slick-haired bunch of yahoos plucking upright basses and crooning their hearts
out until the next wave hits, or you can sidle up to a teenage Wayne Newton
sounding like a little girl on his classic, "Danke Schoen."
here, Vic Damone ("Something's Coming"), Buddy Greco ("The Lady is a Tramp"),
Sammy Davis, Jr. ("I've Gotta Be Me"), Dean Martin ("That's Amore"), Engelbert
Humperdinck ("Release Me (and let me love again)"), Tom Jones ("Delilah") and
eleven others, all doing songs you might recognize, but from names that your
mom can't forget.
One of the cool things about this collection is how it
gives a hilariously kitschy look at this bygone era, especially on one of my
favorite tracks, "Wives and Lovers," by Jack Jones. Over a bouncy beat, Jones
warns, "Hey, little girl, comb your hair, fix your make-up/ Soon he will open
the door/ Don't think because there's a ring on your finger/ You needn't try
anymore/ For wives should always be lovers too/ Run to his arms the moment he
comes home to you/ I'm warning you/ Day after day there are girls at the
office/ And men will always be men/ Don't send him off with your hair still in
curlers/ You may not see him again." Now get me a chicken pot pie, and clean up
As you might expect from the pinkie-ring-wearin', open-shirt
vibe of many of the songs, the female voice is not that well-represented on
this set. The exceptions being Louis Prima & Keely Smith doing "That Old Black
Magic" and Miss Ann-Margret singin' "Begin the Beguine." Don't let that stop
you from diving into campy numbers like Liberace's "Parks & Recreation" mix of
"Cherry Hill Park/Macarthur Park/Echo Park" or Mel Torme's "It's Delovely."
Besides, it's fun to laugh at old people. But don't forget, you'll be one
someday too and when your kids start to think of Bush and Beck as silly
nostalgia acts, it might not be so funny anymore.