Bobby Christian — “Boogaloo”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — April 19, 2022

419) Bobby Christian — “Boogaloo”

This song is shagadelic, baby! If you loved Quincy Jones’ “Soul Bossa Nova”, you’ll love Bobby Christian’s “Boogaloo.”

Jason Ankeny tells us:

Bobby Christian quit school at 14 to join Chicago bandleader Louie Panico . . . . [and] rose to national prominence in 1938 after joining the famed Paul Whiteman band as a drummer and arranger. [He] played with [the] NBC radio orchestra . . . . the Chicago Symphony Orchestra . . . . [and] Arturo Toscannini’s NBC Symphony of the Air . . . . In addition to leading his own dance band, Christian joined Schory’s Percussion Pops Orchestra, a showcase for his unique one-man-band abilities . . . . [and] earn[ed] the nickname “Mr. Percussion” for his virtuosity. . . . . [His LP] Strings for a Space Age [was] a classic of the outer space exotica subgenre. . . . [and he followed it with] a series of LPs including Percussion in Velvet, Vibe-Brations [from which “Boogaloo” comes] and In Action . . . .

[Vibe-Brations, a] slight but charming date captures . . . Christian eschewing the space-age arrangements of his previous LPs in favor of a lightly funky soul-jazz sensibility that showcases his mastery of the vibes. Blessed with all the rhythmic finesse and complexity of past Christian LPs, Vibe-Brations also reaffirms his skills as an arranger. The songs are warm but insistent, drawing judiciously on contemporary pop and soul idioms . . . to create a sound that’s squarely of its time yet not at all dated. Original instrumentals like “Boogaloo” . . . underscore the album’s lighthearted approach. Style certainly trumps substance here, but there’s no denying [the album’s] considerable appeal.;

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