Dominique Cravic & Les Primitifs du Futur
World Musette
Sketch Studio (sketch@easynet.fr)

Featuring Daniel Colin, Fabienne Donard and special guest Raul Barboza on accordions

The liner notes (all in French get your dictionary!) belabor the difference between "amateurs" and "professional musicians." This band is the former: their most famous member is a comic book artist (underground legend Robert Crumb) and their repertoire is '20s dance tunes. Or that's what it sounds like: here are new tunes, dressed in old styles. Count 'em on "Fox Musette." The guitar chugs steadily like Django's Hot Club Quintet, Crumb does string-band moves on mandolin and a Hawaiian guitar. Lusty sax romps with dainty accordion, and there's some weathered scat that's straight out of the 'Thirties. It could be a joke but it's rarely corny; when the xylophone skitters you find yourself smiling. Professional? No. Amateurish? Decidedly not.

Listen!
"Kid Chocolat"
"Est-ce que vous avez des disques 78 tours?" That's Crumb, searching for old records; a dealer hypes his wares, and a chanteuse sings his praises (Monique Hutter she's a charmer!) "It's mint, my friend" the dealer says through a forest of crackles. Oud and derbuka start the exotic "C'est la Goutte," then in comes the sidewalk accordion, stirring a waltz the others join. A bandoneon joins for "Maldita Noche," a squeezebox for each speaker, and a musical saw; it's hokey but fun. The singer calls for the tango, which never comes, but romance is here in abundance.

Free Reed Fest Home Page "Scattin' the Blues" is all strings; the scat is Daniel Huck, and he goes wild. Many things roll by: xylophone novelties, misterioso bits, a bit of a rumba. "Kid Chocolat" has flutes, a Cuban boxer, a tale of woe, and lots of maracas. Marc Richard's trumpet is a plus, as are the lyrics. "Valse Chinoise" is vintage exotica, nice but overly sweet. The same applies to "Les Dernier Musette": accordions, musical saw and vibes are too much! Another blues wanders by, then we get "Desaccord Marroche," perhaps the album's best. Cravic's singing is suave, the band offers a solid jazz backing. The guitars walk slippery, and the bass bows vividly, Slam Stuart without the scatting. Here is the mood and here is the sound: a simple joy, from an era I thought had passed. Not yet it hasn't, for that I am glad. - John Barrett

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