The Band


Here’s what our critics have to say:

Tom Hyslop, Blues Revue:

California harp man Flattop Tom submits his fourth album of swing and blues songs. Loaded with 19 tracks, “Don’t Cheat the Feet” (Palamar Records) includes raw John Lee Hooker boogie, insistent urban blues (“Doin’ the Do” features a cool organ solo by Mike Bolger), jump blues and rumba-blues (“Two Timin’ Baby” with Albert King-inflected guitar from Bob Robles). “I’m Your Plumber Baby” dials in a swinging West Coat groove and fat harp tone worthy of William Clarke, and covers of staples by Lionel Hampton, Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, and Ray Charles are well-done. Unflagging energy, tasty charts, and a rock-solid rhythm section aid this retro-leaning set.

Jim Santella, Southland Blues:

Swing is the thing when Flattop Tom and all the Jump Cats get busy. They take West Coast Swing seriously, as “Flattop” Tom Hall sings with a hearty voice that flies over the dance floor with the character of one who’s anxious and bold. He wants to make sure that his audience knows what the music is for, and he follows many of the selections up with a soulful harmonica romp that doubles the pleasure. Horns, piano, organ, guitar, bass and drums round out the band and give Hall plenty of variety for his 19-song program.

The fourth release for this swinging unit, Don’t Cheat the Feet lets the audience boogie, shake, turn, and fly. Pianist Steve F’Dor and guitarist Bob Robles push “Bump Bounce Boogie” with persuasive force. Lionel Hampton’s “Hey Babba Rebop” and Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson’s “Kidney Stew” bring back memories, while Hall’s seven originals give tradition a new face. His “5, 500 or 5,000” carries the same kind of emotional weight as those of Elmore James and Robert Johnson. His “Two Timin’ Baby” rocks with the kind of sharp attack that would make dancers jerk and twist in their shoes. Flattop Tom gives dancers plenty of adventure through his wide range of fun-filled answers.

Jeannette Clarke (widow of the late, great William Clarke):

The minute I put this CD in my player I kicked off my shoes and starting dancing in the living room. Don’t Cheat the Feet is a great title because your feet will want to dance when you hear this CD! The whole feel of the CD is energy. The slow blues have feeling. The swing tunes make ya wanna dance. The CD will appeal to all — swing and jump fans, blues fans, jazz fans — Don’t Cheat the Feet has it all! Tom’s chromatic playing has a great soulful tone. The horn section is unbelievable. Love track 8. It’s been a long time since I heard a CD that makes you want to listen to it. Then listen to it again and again.

Tami and Erin Stevens, Co-Owners of Pasadena Ballroom Dance Association:

This has been one of our favorite bands since the beginning of the swing revival! They play a great variety of styles, yet manage to keep their own unique sound. This CD features some great new tunes – from jump swing to blues. Flattop Tom was at the forefront of the swing revival, and he definitely knows how to “swing it!” He puts his heart into his music, and you’ll love this latest effort, guaranteed to keep dancers jumpin’! This CD offers up great sounds for both dancing and listening.

Michael Moss, Swingtime Magazine

Flattop is a true original! A pioneer of the hot modern jump swing sound!

Art Tipaldi, Blues Revue Magazine

This band has all the elements to hypnotize fans of West Coast Swing, boogie woogie piano, jazzy harp, steam rolling horn arrangements, hip guitar playing and a rhythm section that pushes fingersnappin to the limit!

Martin Gonzales, Southland Blues Magazine

The Bands strong tie-in with swing dance (see them live to fully appreciate what I mean) is no mere gimmick, it correctly serves to emphasize the essential connection between dancing and music in the development of swing, blues, and rock and roll.

Mike Boehm, Los Angeles Times, 8th Annual Blues Harmonica Blowdown at The House of Blues

Flattop Tom & His Jump Cats also emphasized showmanship, their swinging up-tempo blues were tightly played, the the big treat was watching the leader Tom Hall and a dance partner do a flashy jitterbug.

Bill Locey, Los Angeles Times, Ventura Edition

Hall knows what swing dancers like because he’s one of ’em. A professional dancer who has appeared in films and commercials, Hall has been known to hit the dance floor and shake a leg along with the paying customers when his band gets into an instrumental groove.