Pete Fountain: Muskrat Ramble
Pete Fountain (clarinet)
Standing Room Only (Coral 57474)
and a band including Bob Havens (trombone), Eddie Miller (tenor sax), Nick Fatool (drums).
Composed by Kid Ory.
Recorded: French Quarter Inn, New Orleans, 1965
Rating: 88/100 (learn more)
What sort of people were spending their evenings out, back in the middle of the turbulent '60s, listening to Pete Fountain's dixieland band? Judging by this recording, they were a happy-go-lucky sort you wouldn't mind having for a next door neighbor. The Stones might be looking for "Satisfaction" back in '65, but these fans were just looking for a good time. And that war off in Southeast Asia? Who in French Quarter Inn crowd would have predicted that, just a few months later, Country Joe McDonald would borrow this same Kid Ory tune for his famous antiwar chant, which became so associated with the protest movement that some people simply called it the "Vietnam Song." No protests can be heard on this track, as Fountain tosses off his slick, likable clarinet phrases and engages in some quaint old school counterpoint. Call it an anachronism. Call it out-of-date. But you could draft a busload of Berklee students, and not find one who could pull this tune off with quite as much panache as Fountain and company. And, for the record, Fountain has one of the great clarinet sounds of the modern era.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia