Title - 'Boardwalk Empire - Volume 3'
Artist - Various
For those not in the know, the insanely brilliant 'Boardwalk Empire' is an American television series from premium cable channel HBO, set in Atlantic City, New Jersey during the Prohibition era.
It's a period drama focusing on Enoch "Nucky" Thompson (based on the historical Enoch L. Johnson), a political figure who rose to prominence and controlled Atlantic City, New Jersey, during the Prohibition period of the 1920s and 1930s. Nucky (Steve Buscemi, in yet another always-compulsive viewing attraction of a role that he inspires) interacts with several historical figures in both his personal and political life, including mobsters, politicians, government agents, and the common folk who look up to him.
The federal government also takes an interest in the bootlegging and other illegal activities in the area, sending agents to investigate possible mob connections but also looking at Nucky's lifestyle—expensive and lavish for a county political figure.
Allowing you, the listener to now not only feel the weight of the cinematic viewing as you watch along, ABKCO Records have just released the soundtrack companion, entitled Boardwalk Empire - Volume 3, Music From The HBO Original Series.
Consisting of new versions of 1920's and 1930's songs, and with most all featuring Boardwalk Empire house band Vince Giordano & the Nighthawks as the standard musical underscore, the album begins with the feisty trumpet-inspired 'I Surrender Dear' [feat. Elvis Costello.], and backs it up with 'Love Me Or Leave Me' [feat. the delicious vamp vocals of Regina Spektor], the Latin-flavored 'The Peanut Vendor' [feat. Pedrito Martinez], and then both the old-timey spoken-word sung 'Where The Blue Of The Night (Meets The Gold Of The Day)' [feat. Loudon Wainwright III] and then 'I'm A Little Blackbird' [feat. Margo Bingham, who actually plays Daughter Maitland in Boardwalk Empire].
The incredible mix of contemporary artists combined with the era's music continues onwards with the short-but-sweet frenetic 'Tiger Rag' from Buzz Garland (together with Johnny Gale and Little Isidore; minus The Inquisitors!), 'I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate' [feat. the Broken Arrow native JD McPherson], the instrumental 'Choo Choo' from Vince Giordano And The Nighthawks, and then Margot Bingham comes back (with David Mansfield) for 'Farewell Daddy Blues,' with the beautiful dance sway of 'Out Of Nowhere' [feat. Detroit's very own, Marshall Crenshaw].
Vince Giordano & the Nighthawks take center stage on their own again for the wonderful duo, 'What Is It' and 'Down In The Jungle Town,' before 'Son Que Quita Las Penas' from David Oquendo and the hilarious, but superbly sung 'The Yodeling Chinaman' from Stephen DeRosa (Boardwalk Empire's Eddie Cantor) are given to us. 'There Ain't No Sweet Man' [feat. David Johansen, along with both Johnny Gale and Little Isidore] is next, and is followed by 'Don't Mind the Rain' [feat. Angela McCluskey]. With such a pliant voice, highly reminiscent of Billie Holiday, this was easily one of my most favorite of the 19 tracks.
As the album heads for home, we next get '(I'm A Dreamer) Aren't We All' [feat. legendary NYC songwriter, arranger, record producer, and band leader, Johnny Gale and Little Isidore], Margot Bingham back one last time for a sensational, if note-for-note 'Dream A Little Dream Of Me,' and then, finally, and an album-only cut at that, 'If You Want The Rainbow (You Must Have The Rain)' sung by the one, the only, Norah Jones.