From Sing Out!
Volume 48, #4
As We Like It
Those unfamiliar with this popular band may be puzzled: the album title evokes Shakespeare, the cover features primitive masks, and the band slogan is “changing the face of roots music.” The combination seems even odder when you note that the band combines swing music with instrumentation including jug, harmonica and washboard. But the puzzlement is only for those who haven’t seen these great audience-pleasers.
The Juggernauts are a long-time, close-harmony string band with tastes ranging from old hokey numbers like “Nobody Here But Us Chickens” to Alan Sherman’s “You Gotta Have Skin.”
Among the band’s distinctive qualities is the smoothness with which they play zany Hoosier Hotshots type songs like “Wipe Out,” featuring neat stop-time rhythmic breaks. The album title? It refers to their participation in a 2003 Actor’s Theatre of Louisville production of As You Like It. A sample of their contribution is the enjoyable, albeit unlikely version of “Under the Greenwood Tree,” from Act 4, Scene 5, which includes a jug break. The album includes a poke at rock anthems with “Gimme Three Steps,” introduced by an awful rock beginning, retreating into a country parody including jaw harp. The album wraps up with an abbreviated version of the Looney Tunes theme.
As We Like It is a fine album for devotees of swing and whimsy; some pieces are good dance numbers, many are silly, and still others bring to mind enjoyable nights at musical theatre. Great fun listening! â€" FL/SL