2021 SONG DRAFT- ROUND 8 PICK 4: NOSTALGIC ITALIAN SELECTS-‘JUMP, JIVE AN WAIL’- BRIAN SETZER ORCHESTRA

Song Draft 2021 – Round 8 Pick – Jump, Jive an’ Wail – The Brian Setzer Orchestra

This is my 8th pick for the 2021 Song Draft. As we come down to the final three picks, I have found it more difficult to select my songs. This one wasn’t even on my list of “possible” choices until a week or so ago. I was scanning through my iPod again, and from the opening notes, I thought, “How can I NOT pick this one?!” My pick – Jump, Jive an’ Wail by the Brian Setzer Orchestra.

I was introduced to Brian Setzer in the 80’s when he was in the band The Stray Cats. They had hits with Rock This Town, Sexy and 17, Stray Cat Strut, and I Won’t Stand in Your Way (among others). Their rockabilly sound really stood out on the radio, and while it was not a new sound, it was to many young people who listened.

At some point the Stray Cats broke up and Brian went solo. In 1990, he formed the Brian Setzer Orchestra which combined his rockabilly style with swing, big band, and jump blues. The year before, there was a “swing revival,” which some referred to as “neo-swing” or “retro swing.” At that time bands like Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, and Royal Crown Revue were getting airplay on the radio.

In 1994, The Brian Setzer Orchestra (BSO) released their debut album. It included covers of Lady Luck, A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, Route 66 and some originals. I was hooked from my first listen.

Jump, Jive an Wail!

Louis Prima was a trumpeter who had been playing in bands and combos since the late 1920’s. He wrote Benny Goodman’s hit “Sing, Sing, Sing.” In 1967, he voiced King Louie in Disney’s The Jungle Book.

Songfacts states that Louis Prima was “a popular nightclub singer/trumpeter in the 1930s and 1940s, by 1954 work had dried up for him. However his career revived after he joined with young saxophonist Sam Butera and secured a gig at the Sahara Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. They soon became the most popular act in that city and cut The Wildest! album live in April 1956 at the casino lounge.” The song Jump, Jive an’ Wail is featured on the album and the record is considered one of Swing music’s finest. It became Prima’s signature recording from the set.

In 1998, The Brian Setzer Orchestra covered it on their album “The Dirty Boogie,” and it became their biggest hit. The song was released as its lead single, it peaked at #23 on the Hot 100. Setzer’s cover won the prize for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals at the following year’s Grammy Awards.

While I love the Louis Prima version, it sounds weak compared to the BSO version. There is so much more “Oomph” to it! While the BSO arrangement is very true to the original, there are so many other little musical things in it that make it so much better. First, Setzer’s guitar solo is completely unique to it – and it rocks! Next, you have more musicians – and the orchestra makes it sound “full.” Then you have the amazing key change – to me this takes the song to the next level. Lastly, the three note “stabs” by the trumpets intermingling with everything else … I dig that so much.

Here is the BSO official video:

I love how the video has a cold ending. I wish the album version ended that way.

For comparison – here is Louis Prima’s version:

Jump, Jive an’ Wail Lyrics:

Baby, baby, it looks like it’s gonna hail
Baby, baby, it’ looks like it’s gonna hail
You better come inside
Let me teach you how to jive and wail

Oh, you gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail away

Papa’s in the icebox lookin’ for a can of Ale
Papa’s in the icebox lookin’ for a can of Ale
Mama’s in the backyard learning how to jive an’ wail

Oh, you gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail away

A woman is a woman an’ a man ain’t nothin’ but a male
A woman is a woman an’ a man ain’t nothin’ but a male
One good thing about him
He knows how to jive an’ wail

Jack and Jill went up the hill to get a pail
Jack and Jill went up the hill to get a pail
Jill stayed up, she wants to learn how to jive an’ wail

Oh, you gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail away

You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail away

Oh, you gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail away

You gotta jump, jive
Jump, jive
Jump, jive
Jump, jive

17 responses to “2021 SONG DRAFT- ROUND 8 PICK 4: NOSTALGIC ITALIAN SELECTS-‘JUMP, JIVE AN WAIL’- BRIAN SETZER ORCHESTRA

  1. interesting pick. I do recall hearing this a few times on radio, and much like the Stray Cats in the 80s, it did stand out by being different. Setzer is quite cool and shows he really is devoted to the old time music , not just trying to cash in on a passing fad.

  2. I’m glad someone is trying to keep big band music alive. We have a big band group in the area that puts on well-attended outdoor concerts. Good choice to lend to the eclectic audiocornucopia that is the song draft.

  3. LOVE BSO and Stray Cats. That wave of swing bands you mentioned also included Squirrel Nut Zippers from our area (look up “Hell” from this band). I worked with their original bassist, Don Raleigh, repairing pianos.

    Big Band & Swing remind me of my paternal grandparents.

  4. That’s a fun song! I got to see the Stray Cats live in probably 1983, and enjoyed their hits. I didn’t really get into the swing sound, but it’s hard not to watch and appreciate Setzer. He knew how to craft a memorable signature image, and then followed the sounds he loved and made it work for him.

  5. Im a sucker for this music. Jump music. Big Joe
    Turner was a another one. The sax has a lot to do with it. Giving Prima some ink is a good thing. Liked his cut you posted. Im a fan of Setzer and have a few of his solo recordings. He’s keeping the torch burning. Very cool pick and a genre that I have sprinkled all over my music pile.

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