Hot Stove Jimmy - Salute (Cover Artwork)

Hot Stove Jimmy

Salute (1996)

Jump Up!

Although many people presently listening to ska music probably don't have a clue who Hot Stove Jimmy is, they have probably heard them if they have ever purchased a compilation from Jump Up Records. Does a band by the name of the Cougars ring a bell to anyone? If so, then you have also heard Hot Stove Jimmy, because it's practically the same band. Hot Stove Jimmy formed in the early 90s ska movement and released their second cd Salute in 1996. This is perhaps their best release and it was pumped out only a year after their 1995 release called Take Your Time. With this being said, Salute boats a remarkably better production quality and more mature musicianship, not to mention the addition of alto sax player Jeff Vidmont. Jeff was a friend of the band and had played previously with two other Chicago ska acts, the Monsignors and the Tango Wedding Band, and was received with open arms.

What made Hot Stove Jimmy stand out among other punk influenced ska bands of the mid 90s, were the aggressive vocals of Matt Irie and the strong keyboard emphasis. Salute is by no means a stereotypical punk-ska album because of these unique qualities. Tracks such as "Two Times Second" and "When I go" are just two of the tracks on this cd that will get any fan of third wave ska dancing. What is often left unmentioned is the bands unique sounding horn section. With a heavy saxophone influence, the horn section plays lines somewhat reminiscent of a carnival. This could be a good or a bad thing based on whether carnivals scarred the crap out of you as a child. Whatever the case, their horn lines are usually layered and rarely just follow the bass lines like many other ska bands.

Also mentionable, is the fact that Hot Stove Jimmy was sued by Neil Diamond for their cover of "Sweet Caroline" shortly after being release. They were able to settle out of court, and yes, Neil is now receiving an amazing 6.6 cents a copy. Way to go Neil! With that aside, this is perhaps one of the most overlooked Midwest ska bands, so give them a second look and you won't regret it.