Well, in the late sixties, there was a similar movement. The Sopwith Camel, along with Harpers Bizarre and a myriad of others had America flashing back decades before swing - all the way back to Vaudeville. (These bands are often lumped in as second-rate Lovin' Spoonfulls, but I find their sound much more stylized.) For a band out of California in the late sixties, Vaudeville theater may be an odd touchstone, but what I love about Sopwith is how much they embraced the style; from album cover to spoken word in their songs, they really delved into that slice of Americana.
Here's their big hit, Hello, Hello:
[ mp3 ]: The Sopwith Camel - Hello, Hello
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE AND GET MORE TRACKS....
Not all Sopwith songs are as vaudevillian as Hello, Hello. Postcard From Jamaica is as jaunty as a tilted derby, and you can really hear why Sopwith was continually paired with The Lovin' Spoonfull.
[ mp3 ]: The Sopwith Camel - Postcard From Jamaica
When my dad and I were listening to this, he leaned over and whispered, "The Decemberists!" At least, that's what I think he said. And if he did - then sweet! The Decemberists were on one of the mixes I gave him, and I think he ended up buying The Crane Wife. The student has become the teacher!
I went back and listened to a bit of The Decemberists, and guess what - he wasn't far off. Sopwith takes the leitmotiv a little bit further than Colin Meloy does, but that same feel is there. I guess some tropes never die.
What do you think of this one? It's pretty obscure, I know. I'll be back later in the week with something a little more mainstream...
(note - lala doesn't have this album available, so you can get full track listing here. Below are a few tracks I uploaded to lala. Let me know if you're able to listen - I'm not sure if you will be since I uploaded them myself.)