In the past Brian Carrick had been known to me as a fine British clarinetist who played in the George Lewis style. It was a bit of a surprise when this CD arrived featuring Carrick on both clarinet and tenor sax. Brian continues to play a clarinet once owned by George Lewis and carries on the New Orleans sound in great style. His musical attack with the tenor sax is "anything but Crescent City" and reminded me immediately of a fine British player from the late 1930s by the name of Harry Gold. Harry blew one of the hottest tenors on the Brit Scene for decades with his band named Harry Gold and his Pieces of Eight. The leader also excelled on the bass saxophone, an instrument seldom heard (a pity) today. Born in 1907, Harry recorded into the 1980s, occasionally as a guest with Alex Welsh and using the pseudonym, Harry Bold.
Brian Carrick blows his tenor axe with Gold's drive, exuberance and power. The Algiers Stompers are an exciting trad band that never takes things too seriously and provides us with 17 delightfully happy tracks. Thankfully, there are no tired "Dixie" standards on the album. In fact, there are few songs that would be termed jazz compositions. Most of the tunes are gathered from tin-pan alley with the exception of Riverside Blues and East Coast Trot. The group even has a crack at the latin favorite, "Mama Inez" and Eddie Fisher's hit from the 1950's, "Anytime."
No matter what they play, this band is HOT. Derek Winters' wild trumpet and Chas Hudson's gutsy trombone never cease to please. The rhythm section is of the highest quality and I was truly impressed by pianist Mike Lunn and drummer Guy Fenton. Fenton's well chosen accents are placed with precision and taste. If I had to say anything nasty about this album, it would refer to the single vocal by the leader. Ooh! That's bad.