"Stop Kidding," a piece by one of the Cotton Pickers' chief arrangers John Nesbitt, takes hold with delightful swing and twin horn paths. The strings add a smoothness, while Garcia's drums are on-point with accurate, fun fills.
Elsewhere, the Ghost Train Orchestra takes on Charlie Johnson's "Hot Bones and Rice" with a big sweaty mouthful of the blues. It's very nearly a rag, but most of all, it's hot and bothered with a blistering trumpet solo and some slow, plodding, dirty rhythm. Caswell's tuba sits way, way down low. Awesome stuff.
For an extra thrill, Swift sings on "Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You" and Johnson's "Blues Sure Have Got Me." The latter features a musical saw as accompaniment, but Swift takes over and outshines the blaring horns.
An affectionate look at the jazz of the 1920s, Hothouse Stomp hits the swinging mark dead-on. Carpenter knows his stuff and it shows in every arrangement, generating more than enough heat for the hip crowd while putting some spice in the compositions to liven up the old-timers.