Like former local legends such as Charles Bukowski and Lord Buckley, Chuck E Weiss has become the living embodiment of the Los Angeles' bohemian underclass, whose memory he helps to sustain through songs about characters called Piccolo Pete, Pork Chop and Prince Minsky. Weiss deals in what he calls "discom-bop-ulated jive", a raucous mixture of R&B, jazz, lounge music, Cajun, and even, on "Novade Nada", a mutant blend of Latino surf-guitar music. He does nothing by halves, opting for extremes wherever possible - his vocal style, for instance, swings between baritone growl, as on "Prince Minsky's Lament", and falsetto whisper, like that jousting with Jeff Turmes' baritone sax on "Sho is Cold", a tribute to the cartoon voice artist Sterling Holloway. And he'll slip into bebop scat at the drop of a hat, as in "Half Off at the Rebop Shop". But whether he's loudly celebrating some underground icon, or crooning what seems like a sentimental ballad, there's usually a barb to Weiss's material - as when the wistful "Another Drunken Sailor Song" slips from a first verse about the little children, into a second in which "the old man's palsy withers to the bone".
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