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ÂÂ Dutch Falconi and His Twisted Orchestra was one of Sacramento's most popular live acts during the 1990s. Taking the big band dynamic to its logical extreme with up to 32 members performing onstage or on the sidelines, these guys and dolls really knew how to put on a show! I happened to mention Dutch Falconi in passing while talking to former co-worker Dean Alleger during a lunch break, and he responded that he had not only played trumpet for the group but also co-produced its masterpiece Crimeboss Hootenanny (1997). I was absolutely awestruck to discover that someone I'd spent so much time shooting the breeze with had largely been responsible for piecing together a musical mosaic I had admired for so long. On Crimeboss Hootenanny, Dutch Falconi drew inspiration from Cab Calloway, The Andrew Sisters, Tom Waits, and various other sources, but what really stands out besides the consummate musicianship is a satirical bent that recalls Firesign Theater at its wackiest. (Alleger was kind enough to give me a CD documenting a mock radio production that confirmed the Firesign influence wasn't just a figment of my imagination.) There are the few expected showstoppers here like "Jerry the Junker" and guest vocalist Countess Kitten Fontina's Bavarian mobster saga "Lepke Finger Gang," but to truly appreciate this album, you really need to listen to it from beginning to end. In an attempt to fill the compact disc format with as much entertainment as the technology would allow, an 8-minute skit serving as an intermission was inserted at the appropriate interval. Alleger informed me that the basic tracks took only five days to lay down but that the album as a whole took two years to complete due to all of the nuttiness that was included in the final product. Falconi's out-of-print debut album The Shoes of Despair (1994) remains a holy grail for me, but I've managed to download all of the songs off the group's official website, and I think it's safe to say that Crimeboss Hootenanny easily stands as their towering achievement. If you think you might be interested in checking out what I've often referred to as "The Sgt. Pepper of Swing," you can find used copies for sale on Amazon for no more than a buck-and-a-half. As for the macabre tale of The Penis Guillotine, I'll let the DF website take it from here: www.magick-land.com/dutchfalconi
You can find Dutch Falconi's Crimeboss Hootenanny for sale here.