Hello kiddies, this is your far out, Far East jazz critic Wing Fat here. I am delighted that "Big Mama" Sue Kroninger asked me to write the liner notes for this, her latest CD. I am sure you will be delighted too.

Here we have Mama Sue serving up her usual, unusual mix of music and mayhem. Flanked by robust and talented sidemen, Sue pounds the musical pavement with an eclectic selection of tunes ranging from the serious to the nefarious.

If you are a long-time fan and/or follower of Mama Sue you are no doubt familiar with Chris "Mr. Excitement" Calabrese. As Sue's pianist, arranger, composer, and chauffeur, Chris has been a staple in the various incarnations of the Big Mama Sue Jazz Band for many years. You may not, however, be familiar with Carlos Donaho, a recent but now permanent addition to Sue's band. Hailing from Las Vegas, Carlos delivers lightning-fast banjo plinking and a voice with such incredible depth and power it has to be heard to be believed.

I dove into this delicious CD faster than a swimming pool filled with Egg Foo Yung. Join me, won't you, as I explore the musical dish that is Big Mama Sue. And Chris. And Carlos.

I've Got My Fingers Crossed A great old standard made popular by Fats Waller, this tune shows off the Trio at its swingin' best. But hold on—what is that sound? It's Mr. Excitement playing soprano saxophone! His critics said it couldn't be done, but I say: LUSCIOUS!
I Always Get Lucky With You Gary Church, multi-talented musician and friend to Sue and the boys, wrote this tune which holds the distinction of being the 390th top country song of all time. It is also quite possibly the first piece of country music to have a diminished chord.
Nagasaki This traditional jazz standard offers the thrilling sound of Mr. Excitement expunging the air from his lungs at break-neck speed. Included are the rarely-heard verse, and the even less-rarely-heard second verse and chorus. If you can understand the lyrics, keep in mind this tune was written in 1927.
Big Butter & Egg Man Mama Sue and Carlos go head-to-head in this Dixieland favorite. I just have one question: What the heck is "big butter"?
A Kiss to Build a Dream On Chris's solo piano version of a tune most often associated with Louis Armstrong.
The Boys in the Back Room Originally sung by Marlene Dietrich in the movie, "Destry Rides Again," Mama Sue's delivery explodes with understatement. Here we have clear evidence as to why she is San Francisco's Barbary Coast Queen.
Old Man River The amazing Carlos Donaho at his powerful best. If you love music, you will love this. If you are a seismologist you might not be so thrilled.
The Princess Poo-Poo-ly Has Plenty Papaya Aloha! It's music from the Islands! Doug McClellan, Santa Cruz's resident poet laureate and besotted impresario, personally recommended this tune to Mama Sue as something befitting her style and personality. All I have to say is, that man's a genius.
Besame Mucho Mama Sue is not afraid to explore her Latin roots. Through her exploration she discovered she really has no Latin roots, although one would never know it listening to her authentically-enunciated version of this standard.
The Tennessee Waltz The symbiotic voices of Sue and Carlos perfectly render the multiple layers of this country AND western classic. It's like two for the price of one.
Lulu's Back in Town Another Fats Waller vehicle, the group harmonizes this tune in vocal trio. Music scholars will notice the exquisite flatted 5th on the end.
Don't Take Your Love From Me Ah, Carlos. A beautiful example of the depth of Carlo's vocal prowess. Mr. Excitement's tinkling is not bad either.
Wild Cherries Rag Before he was Mr. Excitement, Chris was Mr. Ragtime (that was actually between when he was Mr. Fix-It and Mr. July). Here he shows us why in this hip rag from 1907.
Is It True What They Say About Dixie? Carlos Donaho asks the musical question: Avalon? ... Joke! Joke! I kidding! I crack up myself!
Squeeze Me Ah, Mama Sue. She takes her sweet, sultry voice, adds an "edge" courtesy of Fats Waller, and delivers this Waller standard as only she can. It makes my heart go pitty patty plop.
Sukiyaki Original titled "Ue o Muite Aruko" and released in the USA in 1963, it is the only Japanese song to attain the #1 spot on the American pop charts. Mama Sue is a woman of many tongues and she proves it here, singing this song in its original Japanese. A lighthearted, delightful romp about the heartbreak and suffering of lost love.
Just a Closer Walk With Thee Dixieland greats from Louis Armstrong to Pete Fountain have used this traditional spiritual as a vehicle for their improvisations. Carlos takes it and makes it his own.
Whispering I do believe what we have here is the new definitive version of this 1920's chestnut. Festive, taught, magnificent, with a surprise ending that will leave you breathless.

Whew, it's all over way too soon. Love to you all, and remember to eat spicy food once in a while.

Wing Fat
Jazz Critic