Eddie Lang & Joe Venuti: Wild Cat
1920's and 1930's Sides Remastered (JSP Records)
Recorded: New York, January 24, 1927
Rating: 92/100 (learn more)
"Wild Cat" is an apt title for this recording, as the piece is taken at a fast, if not frenzied, tempo and played with intensity and exuberance in a very 1920s style. The track starts with a dramatic, intense, 2-stage ascending violin flourish that amounts to a call to action, with a perfect, sharply strummed 2-stage response by Lang's guitar. After that, Lang provides more than his usual solid, chugging rhythmic and harmonic foundation; he gives us a high-octane, rollicking, ascending and descending guitar counterpoint to Venuti's expressive violin lines that sail and skitter over the top with verve and style. With all the energy and strong, driving rhythm, this is serious toe-tapping music. And after they are fully in motion with the fiddle and guitar exchanges, it sounds like a brilliant precursor to the best bluegrass breakdown records of later years (direct or indirect inspiration?).
Reviewer: Dean Alger