Kids in the Hall, Ralph Benmergui, and Larry Sanders. We had exciting Friday nights in Canada, did we not?
Only one of the reasons that Jaymz Bee is totally awesome is that his name isn’t even really James B. He’s actually a James D, from North Bay Ontario, and he is one whacky fellow. A TV music veteran from the Look People (which also spawned Kevin Hearn, future Barenaked Lady) and the Ralph Benmegui show, the man is actually quite a musical genius. After the TV stint, Jaymz teamed up with Jono Grant and immersed himself in lounge music. I have to credit T-Rev for discovering this disc in the late 90’s and turning us onto it. He was all about the lounge music at the time, and Jaymz was catchy and hilarious.
“Man Can Fly” opens the album on a distinctly campy note, but listen to those bass chops and that flute solo! T-Rev, who was always a jazzbo, gave this CD a few fair spins in-store and you can hear why. It’s a great, bright sound that’s perfect for work. “The Man in the Saucy Suit” could work as background music for a Bugs Bunny mapcap adventure, and the lyrics are quite witty.
Our favourite song was usually “You Put the Babe in Baby”, a fast dexterous jazzy tongue twister. Freakin’ incredible, and now I need to pause for a cocktail. Thankfully, the CD jacket has recipes for three suitable drinks: the Berlin Martini, the signature Jaymz Bee Martini, and a Rob Roy!
“Amazon Sugar Pie” is a delightfully jaunty jungle journey with zoot suits and swing. Then on “Tony Bennettless”, Jaymz advises us that no party can swing if it is Tony Bennett-less, and he makes a convincing argument. “Free food and free booze, no it don’t mean a thing,” if a bash is Tony Bennett-less. “A Dog Like You” is another chaotic tongue twister, lyrically hilarious and musically top drawer.
The most surprising track is “A Groovy Movie”, the most straightforward rocking-est of the songs. The humour and swing is intact, but this time you can get down and dance like Austin Powers back in the 60’s again. I think the most interesting song is the slinky, snail-y quiz show sounding title track. It’s fun to try and figure out the compound names before Jaymz gives them away in the words… “BuffySaintMarieAntoinetteFuniCelloBiafra”? “RickJamesDeanMartinShort”?
“Music to Watch Girls By” is yet another fun 60’s swing, and “The Future Keeps Kicking My Ass” is nocturnal and slinky goodness with a Tom Waits vibe…but the closer “Nails” is manic musical insanity. It’s another lyrical masterwork of wit. “Nails! You bang ’em with a hammer! Nails! You cut ’em or you grow ’em…” and you’d be surprised just how many things you can do with nails according to this song, but then we diversify to snails, whales, jails, and finally back again to nails! Best line: “Whales: One swallowed Fred and Barney Rubble!” (You remember that episode, I know ya do.) And stay tuned for the hidden bonus track, in French.
Brilliant with humour like a great Zappa disc. Buy it.