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Janet Klein & Her Parlor Boys (USA)
© Coeur De Jeanette Productions 2006


Janet Klein - Vocal, Ukulele
Robert Armstrong - Hawaiian Steel Guitar, Accordion
Ian Whitcomb - Vocal, Ukulele, Piano, Accordion
Dan Levinson - C-Melody Sax
Tom Marion - Guitar, Mandolin, Banjo
Billy Steele - Guitar
Dave Jones - Stand up Bass
Dan Weinstein - Trombone, Violin, Sousaphone
Brad Kay - Piano
Benny Brydern - Violin
Corey Gemme - Cornet
Randy Woltz - Vibes, Percussion, Xylophone
Craig Ventresco - Guitar
Paul Shelasky - Violin
Buster Fitzpatrick - Stand UP Bass

OH! Is a gorgeously- packaged little candy box of vintage Jazz-Age Delights-Obscure, Comical, Lovely and Spirited musical bon-bons from the Only Decades That Were Ever worth a Hill O’ Beans!

Announcing!!! “Oh!” the latest, newest CD collection of Rare, Vintage, Rollicking Musical Funtime Frolics from the 1910’s, 20’s and 30’s, as sung and performed by Janet Klein & Her Parlor Boys. Janet and the Boys are the best at what they do! They’re unearthing, revivifying, rejuvenating, Vaudevillinating, whoopifying and bringing to joyous life tunes so rare and surprising that they are off the map! Here are the sonorous, hauntingly frank and clever sounds of a lost America, an underappreciated time between the two world wars. This is music that kept people up all night in speakeasies, barrelhouses, dance halls and Vaudeville theatres by the millions. When this band dishes out these neglected melodies and lyrical gems you know you’ve been spoken to. This CD is a “where have you been all my life” musical lost and found treasure box.

Oh How Sweet! The band’s ruff and ready live approach to song recording comes across from the first to the last cut. In the first and title track song “Oh!” the band shows an affinity to the expressive unique quirky charm that Robert Cloud gave his arrangement of the same song in 1927. The songs: “When The World Is At Rest” and “Ida I Do” are just simply stunning. “Who-oo? You-oo! That’s Who”, “Oh!” and Blanche (sister of Cab) Calloway’s “Concentrating On You” benefit from the thrillingly buoyant horn trio of Corey Gemme, Dan Weinstein and Brad Kay. The naughty and suggestive “I’m Busy and You Can’t Come In” is notable for it’s breakdown of harmonized humming by the band.

Fix your lamps on hotcha sweetie & ukulele chanteuse Janet Klein and just some of the notable members of the Parlor Boys: Ian Whitcomb, author and British invader of pop music fame circa 1960’s, Tom Marion and Robert Armstrong, members of Robert Crumb’s Cheap Suit Serenaders and Brad Kay, former member of The Original Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo.

Oh My! This is the 5th CD from the enchanting Ms Klein and her highly acclaimed, girdle-bustin’ bunch of West Coast Jazz Archeologists whose previous CDs include:
1998 Come In To my Parlor
2002 Put A Flavor To Love
2000 Paradise Wobble
2004 Living In Sin

Written by Stewart Mason

With her sleek bob haircut (usually with a flower placed just so), vintage fashion sense, strikingly beautiful looks and artfully customized ukulele, Janet Klein might seem at first to be a simple novelty act, a 21st-century hipster "ironically" recreating the subtly naughty looks of a fin-de-siecle French postcard. Then she opens her mouth to sing. There's no Betty Boop hiccups or Mae West-style brassiness in her charmingly original voice. And when she starts to play her ukulele, it's clear that this oft-ridiculed cousin of the guitar is neither prop nor gimmick, but a delightful and under-utilized musical instrument. Bearing an ever-expanding repertoire of, as she puts it, "obscure, lovely and naughty songs from the 1910's , 20's and 30's," Janet Klein is a musical archeologist hiding in the body of an F. Scott Fitzgerald heroine.

Raised in San Bernardino, California, during the 1970s, Klein's early musical education came from her father Stephen Klein, a teacher and avant-garde animator whose taste ran primarily to Frank Zappa and Classical. Even more importantly, Klein's grandparents regaled her with tales of New York in the 1930s (where her grandfather Marty Klein had worked as a stage magician), instilling a lifelong fascination with pre-World War II American popular culture into the young girl.

By the time Klein moved to Los Angeles to start college in the early '80s, this had translated into an interest in both early jazz recordings and the graphic designs styles of the era. Through the former, Klein discovered early female jazz singers and musicians like, Lil Hardin Armstrong (Louis' wife and early manager) and Blanche Calloway (sister of Cab). The latter hobby led Klein to start collecting sheet music from the 1800s to the Jazz Age, at first purely for the pictures and artwork, then increasingly out of love for the songs themselves.

Around this time, Klein met Robert Loveless, a local post-punk musician (Savage Republic, 17 Pygmies,etc.) who shared her love for early 20th century art and design and encouraged her artistic pursuits. Although Klein was becoming progressively more intrigued with her favorite style of music, she felt at the time that nobody would want to hear her sing, especially not the vintage pre-rock pop and early jazz tunes she loved. Instead, she channeled her creative energies into poetry and painting ( she self-published a chapbook of poems and drawings, When They Kiss I Leave, in 1989) as well as performance art. This changed when Klein discovered the Letter Exchange, a sort of pre-Internet chat room where folks left letters (remember letters?) on any number of topics to be published in small journals, to be read and responded to by others.

Through the Letter Exchange, Klein discovered that she wasn't alone in her dedication to such a supposedly unfashionable style. Encouraged, Klein picked up the ukulele, and as she mastered the instrument, she began to incorporate some of her favorite old songs into her poetry readings. Klein's breathy voice was perfectly suited to material from the teens and '20s, and by 1996, she dropped the poetry aspect of her performances entirely, concentrating on performing her favorite old songs in an authentic and straightforward style, staying true to the original material while entirely avoiding any whiff of kitsch or nostalgia.

Klein's straightforward vocal style places the lyrics foremost, so that the songwriters' clever construction and witty rhymes can be best appreciated. Indeed, her debut album, 1998's Come Into My Parlor, is almost a solo record, with Klein's vocals and ukulele occasionally unobtrusively supported by John Reynold's Django Reinhardt-style guitar and producer Loveless' accordion, mandolin, harmonica and triangle.

After that album was recorded, Klein started putting together a band to perform with. The Parlor Boys is a loose-knit conglomeration that can include up to a dozen musicians but usually tops out around six or seven. Reynolds (the grandson of '30s comic/sound and silent movie actress Zasu Pitts) remains, accompanied by two charter members of Robert Crumb's '70s trad-jazz group the Cheap Suit Serenaders, Robert Armstrong (Hawaiian steel guitar, accordion and musical saw) and Tom Marion (guitar, mandolin and banjo), plus musical historian Brad Kay (piano and cornet) and musicologist, author, radio personality and former British Invasion teen idol Ian Whitcomb (ukulele and accordion).

Klein's second album, Paradise Wobble (like the first bedecked in vintage photos and perfect replications of early 20th century graphic design), was credited to Janet Klein and her Parlor Boys. the wide-ranging disc earns the communal credit, featuring several Hawaiian-flavored instrumentals showcasing Armstrong as well as a delightful Whitcomb lead vocal on the profoundly odd "Tain't No Sin To Take Off Your Skin and Dance Around In Your Bones," a 1930 obscurity with a title that later turned up in a William S. Burroughs poem.

"I'm on a mission for charm," Klein states unapologetically. Everything she does, both professionally and personally, is done with an eye for beauty, wit, and indeed charm. Her current activities include recording new work for CD number six. Joined by her band,as well as special guests, Janet draws from rare material originally recorded by the likes of Wilton Crawley (little known clarinetist and vaudeville contortionist of the 1920's)and Robert Cloud (a highly quirky composer from Florida who had several of his works recorded by the Ross Deluxe Synchopators in a tobacco warehouse in 1927 by the Victor Recording Company). Other unusual tunes for the new record will include a little known Cole Porter song entitled "I'm Getting Myself Ready for You" and "Nakasete Chodai" or as titled in English, "Please Cry Me" a 1930s Japanese blues song. As usual, the group is cooking up some wild and wooly renditions of their own.

She continues to perform with her band mostly in Los Angeles but also makes appearances frequently in the San Francisco area (notably February 4, 2007, opening for R. Crumb's Cheap Suit Serenaders at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley), as well as touring Japan regularly since 2002. Janet & the Boys have given concerts in numerous American movie palaces and other historic venues such as the grand Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite and can be found jazzing it up at their regular monthly shows at the Steve Allen Theater, Los Angeles. ( Janet also continues to utilize her collection of vintage photographic matter in graphic design projects including two miniature books "Love is A Boomerang" and "Take A Picture of the Moon" and has plans for a dvd of musical film shorts and live concert footage.


1. Oh!
2. Concentratin' On You
3. When the World Is At Rest
4. That's Love
5. Baltimore
6. Ida I Do
7. Who-oo You-oo That's Who!
8. Mon Ami Perdu
9. Don't Worry 'Bout Me
10. Undecided Now
11. Sweet Man
12. Hello Bluebird
13. Little Coquette
14. I'm Busy and You Can't Come In
15. Lonesome and Sorry
16. Butterflies In the Rain
17. If You Hadn't Gone Away
18. Rebecca Came Back from Mecca
19. When?

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