Pete Thomas & The Horns A Plenty, Big. Album Review.

Liverpool Sound and Vision * * * * *

When Pete Thomas says Big, he doesn’t just mean huge, enormous or giant like, he means Big, emblazed in bright neon lights, all signs pointing his way and saying that there is no other show in town for the foreseeable future and all tickets are sold out. A sound that encompasses the vastness and drive in which Pete Thomas & The Horns A Plenty take up residence in your soul and make your heart skip in time to the music in such a way that it is hard to imagine there being space for anything else in your head. Such is the power of Big, such is the power of the big band feel.

Outside of the old Jazz/Swing/Blues haunts of pre-World War Two New York and in the heyday of musical luminaries in which Britain’s W. H. Auden felt compelled to visit as he strolled round New York City, there really isn’t anything that can compare with the majestic feel that this band creates and so far this year only the wonderful Caro Emerald has come close. Both though have something tangible inside of the album’s they have produced, namely the ability to put a smile back on faces of those who can’t help but be inspired by the musical sonic wave that starts of at somewhere around the pulsating mark and ends up in smack in the middle of infecting every fibre of your being.

Perhaps the splendid man W.H. was onto something when he first talked of being captivated by the sound emanating from behind the doors of the Jazz clubs that frequented New York at the time of the Depression, such is the sheer size of what Pete Thomas has arranged that it makes the Big Apple seem like a play park, a one acre amusement arcade for the easily bored and fatigued.  From the start of TLC, the music grabs you by the shirt tails, spins you round faster than a ride at the county fair but without robbing you of an hour of your life and offers you two choices, either A, hang on to something and enjoy the ever increasing beat on tracks such as Boomtown, Swing King, Diamonds And Rubies, Big and Bad and Rock Me Till The Money’s Gone or B, …well there is no B. A is the only choice and it’s worth taking.

Strap your shoes on tight, and get them ready to dance in whatever way you want them too as they are going to take some incredible punishment from your feet; they really won’t stop tapping along in time to the infectious and blistering beat of this outrageous music

Ian D. Hall