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Reviews & Comments

Comments from a fan after hearing the Fulton Street Jazz Band at the Three
Rivers, California, Jazzaffair Jazz festival on April 12, 2008

The Fulton Street Jazz Band is everything it always aspired to be times ten. I'm not an expert but I've been around the jazz festivals long enough to know what I don't like, what I do like and what blows me out of my socks.

Your entire Saturday night set and especially that particular rendition of "Sing, Sing, Sing" had me on my feet shouting like a fool. It's been a long time since a band has had that effect on me.

I told Bob Williams your front line sounds like five or six strong guys. Edgerton I remember from Wooden Nickel and I believe from Hot Tomatoes. He dreams things that flower through those reeds. Sakoi is a treat, amazing range and full of surprises.

Williams is your anchor, know he's there and all is well. And I was a drummer a million years ago. I know the difference between showing up, showing off and carrying the band where it wants to go. Vince is a great creative drummer who never loses his perspective or control. Same kind of feeling for your bassist...if Vince is your carriage, Darrell is your wheels. And I would listen to you play Chopin, chopsticks or Mares Eat Oats all day, any day. You have the happiest fingers I've ever heard.

Good God, I'm writing unrequested liner notes. Sorry to take so much time. It's two days later and I'm still Fulton Street jazzed! Thanks for the great time.

--Dave Williams, KNX All-News Radio, Los Angeles, CA

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Vol. XIX No. 8
September 2007
Page 21


What goes around comes around. A case in point the venerable Fulton street Band whose name now reads Bob Ringwald's Fulton Street Jazz Band as it did when the pianist/vocalist Bob ringwald founded the group in the 1960's.

However, for the past 28 years, it has been known as the Fulton Street Jazz Band. With Ringwald having returned as leader after a lengthy stay in the Southland and the band left leaderless when former top dog Dean Nelson retired, the band's original name has been restored.

So much for the band name. That's about all that has changed. It's still essentially a Chicago style sextet boasting blue ribbon musicians including a front line made up of multiple reedman and guitarist Paul Edgerton, trombonist Bob Williams and trumpeter Bob Sakoi. The rhythm section is anchored by drummer Vince Bartels, who's been with the band for 29-years, as well as bassist Darrell Fernandez and the ever present Ringwald.

The leader is the band's principal vocalist though for this recording, Bob's actress daughter Molly Ringwald, who was singing at Sacramento Jazz Jubilees when she was a youngster, takes a turn at the vocal mic too.

Just look at the tune list and you'd think the CD is trad all the way. But if you're acquainted with Fulton Street at all, you know they put their own stamp on any tune they play. To wit the first track, "Algiers Strut"" that swings a lot more then it struts or "Shout 'Em, Aunt Tillie," an Ellington tune with a boring melody that the Fultons turn into a respectable romp.

As for the balance of the program, well, it's all top drawer. The Bobs, Sakoi, the trumpeter and Ringwald, the vocalist, turn in a fine performance of "Blue Turning Gray Over You," the other Bob, Williams, lays down a nice intro for a spirited take of "Once In a While." With a second trombonist, Jim Maihack the FSJB provides a lush background for Molly R. who also handles the lyrics on "Oh Daddy."

Amid the well worn standards like "Something For Annie" and "Save It Pretty Mama," the Fultons rescue "Old Bones" and the instrumental, "One Foot In The Gutter" from the world of obscurity with Ringwald at the vocal mic on the former song.

Highlight of the disc, however, is a torrid take of "High Society" with Williams paving the way for clarinetist Edgerton's nifty work on the difficult part made famous by Alphonse Piccu and then essayed by the full Band. Great stuff.

(For orders or information: telephone (530) 642-9551
U.S. Mail-Box 1016, Placerville, Ca 95667).

Grade A

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The American Rag
May, 2007 issue, Vol. XIX No. 4, Page 20
Review by Cam Miller


The subtitle of this CD alone should tell you what Bob Ringwald was up to when he first issued the material in 1983 on a vinyl LP "Bob Ringwald Plays And Sings The Songs That Have Kept Him Out Of the Big Time For Years." What we have here is a party time CD aimed at entertaining listeners although some might find a few of the lyrics, laced with double entendre and carrying mildly risqué titles, offensive. But at the same time, it's pretty hard not to appreciated the multi-talented Ringwald, whose main axe is a piano but who is also heard playing kazoo, banjo, bass and percussion. And singing in a joyous voice. So, if all of this sounds inviting, then this CD is for you, Bud.

If the name Bob Ringwald rings a bell, it should. The founder and now again leader of the Fulton Street Jazz Band is once more living in the Sacramento area after a number of years of holing up in Southern California. And in addition to Fulton Street, Ringwald also is a member of the off-the-wall Boondockers.

The musician's program is a mix of originals and songs borrowed from others. As an example, Ringwald does a bang up job on social and political satirist Tom Lehr's "My Home Town" and "The Masochism Tango." And one of Bob's better compositions is a thing he wrote with the washboard wizard, Bill Gunter. It's "I Wanna Play Piano in A Cathouse," with its appealing melody and clever words.

Ringwald also shows his command of ragtime with a striking take of "Maple Leaf Rag" and he rattles the keys eight to the bar on his own, "The Dirtiest Boogie" and completely embraces the old Clancy Hayes favorite, "Huggin' And Chalkin'." His version of "Secret Love" with newly written lyrics, deals with a love that no longer is a secret at all, and "A Hawaiian Tale" is not something you'd want to sing your baby to sleep with. Not your wife either if you care about your marriage. However, Ringwald puts just the right edge on "Hard Hearted Hannah," that bewitching vamp of Savannah, and handles the Spencer Quinn epic, "Our Trailer Don't Seem Like Home Any More," with empathy.

Bottom line, and I use that term advisedly in view of the nature of this CD, you have to hand it to Ringwald for keeping true to his belief that if you can't have fun with what you do, then you shouldn't be doing it. Even if you catch a few brickbats in the process.

Grade B+

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The Los Angeles Jazz Scene
May, 2007.
By Scott Yanow

Ringwald Rated R
Bob Ringwald Plays and Sings the Songs That Have Kept Him Out of The Big Time For Years

(Mountain Gold Recordings MGR-003)

Sometimes listeners who are unfamiliar with jazz consider the music to be overly serious, dry, intellectual and a bit forbidding. While that description may fit some performances, Bob Ringwald's Rated R is on a different level. Ringwald, a veteran stride and ragtime pianist who has played in many trad groups and festivals through the years. has put together a rather unusual program for this CD. Through overdubbing, he is heard not only on piano and vocals but banjo, bass, kazoo and percussion. The music he performs, with the exception of an occasional instrumental such as "Maple Leaf Rag" and "The Dirtiest Boogie," emphasizes his singing and some rather bawdy humor.

His repertoire includes such tunes as Ringwald's "I Wanna Play Piano In A Cathouse" (a classic of its kind), a couple of Tom Lehrer classics ("My Home Town" and "The Masochism Tango"), "Hard Hearted Hannah," a greatly altered version of "Secret Love" and "Life Git's Teejus, Don't It." The humor can be considered rated R although some of it is implied rather than actually stated, with Ringwald setting up rhymes and then humorously not saying the expected word/insult/obscenity.

Rated R will definitely put a smile on one's face and it gives one an excuse to hear a generous amount of Bob Ringwald's joyous piano.



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