Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Throwback MP3 of the Week: Al Trout's Hokum Washboard Band, "Doo Wacka Doo"

Posted by on Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 9:00 AM

Who remembers the Squirrel Nut Zippers? Ah, when ragtime managed to sneak into the charts because swing had crept in the door left open by ska. The video for "Hell" even managed to get some acclaim and props simply because MTV banned that sucker. Why? Fire! Of course -- thank you, inattentive mothers allowing their young'uns to watch Beavis & Butthead.

click to enlarge al_trout_cover.jpg

Anyhow, "hokum" is much like ragtime. It's basic and syncopated somewhat like jazz. There's usually a washing board and banjo involved in there somehow, and you can easily dance the Charleston to it. The whole thing dates back to the late teens and early '20s of the last century.

Easily understood modern analogues would be "Weird Al" Yankovic's "This Is The Life" (also known as "the theme to Johnny Dangerously"), or the music of the White Ghost Shivers (who released an album entitled Hokum If You Got 'Em).

Al Trout and company plied their trade in Lawrence for the latter half of the '90s, and in addition Mr. Trout and his wife, Rebekah, featured the Midday Ramblers' Kory Willis and Mike Horan. Trout now lives in Colorado, where his music is decidedly darker. He dresses like Robert Mitchum in Night of the Hunter and sounds like one of those Gothic cowboy types who listen to too much Nick Cave and Johnny Cash.

This track comes from the one and only CD the band released, entitled Hokum Strut. Most compositions, such as this one, are originals, although there are also versions of classics like "Chinatown" and "Dinah."

MP3: Al Trout's Hokum Washboard Band, "Doo Wacka Doo"

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