Jailbreak Review !
CD Review: Jailbreak!
19 Selections, TT = 32:21
Reviewed by Cam Miller
Reprinted without permission from The American Rag, April 2006
The only thing missing from this disc is a shout from this merry-making madcap musicians to "Go fer the Ophir" but only because they didn’t think of it. For if ever there was a party band, the Ophir Prison Marching Kazoo Band And Temperance Society, Lmtd. is it.
Just the sight of leader Capt. Rufus T. Whizbang strutting down the street in a festival with a giant skate key extending from his pith helmet followed by gaggle of musicians means you're experiencing the Ophirs. And fittingly, material for this album was taken from recordings made at various parades and park concerts in Sacramento and Nevada counties.
What's often overlooked however, this 15 or-so piece (numbers don’t matter much with this band) is a cracking good musical group that plays far more than just marches as the album under discussion attests. What's equally true is that rarely does a number go by without one or more members adding a touch that is wholly spontaneous to say nothing of being side-splitting...
Witness a medley from "The Sound Of Music" that literally ends on a sudsy parody of "Do Re Mi" in which a chant for beer dominates the action from flagfall to finish. In fact beer is a central theme in several selections, – "Glorious Beer" for one – not the production of it, but the drinking of it.
No song is safe from the Ophirs, including a wacky reading of "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" that's totally out of sync with the intended tempo and a sing-along take of the theme from the "Mickey Mouse Club" that is indeed, well, Mickey Mouse.
There are instances, however, when the Ophirs get serious. Like the uncredited drum solo to open a barn burning "Sing, Sing, Sing" and some terrific high note work by the brass section on "How High The Moon," and swinging versions of "Opus One" and "Leap Frog," the theme song for the Les Brown Orchestra. There’s even a march on the disc: "Stars And Stripes," what else? And a roaring '20s number, "Just A Gigolo" so often performed by the late Spiegel Willcox that survives a fun treatment by the Ophirs.
Not wanting to overlook still another bit of Americana, the Ophirs offer "Zoot Suit Riot," and end the album with what leader Capt. Rufus T. Whizbang labels an epilog but which is a two word expression that best not be printed in a family newspaper.
If you like this album, you also should take a flyer on one which was issued after Jailbreak You might know, it's titled Back In The Slammer. I suppose the band's next CD will be named We Got The Hang Of It.
Incidentally, Jailbreak was issued five years ago, but like good wine, an Ophir album grows better with age and should be sampled often to get the full benefit.