I struggled with finding a descriptive box to fit The Ditty Bops into, but every time I thought I had them pegged down, the next track would shift the whole album in a completely different direction. Moon Over the Freeway is the sophomore release from the duo. It maintains their signature blend of swing, ragtime, folk, and just about any other acoustic style you can think of. Their press release describes the album as, “Calamity Jane, Betty Boop, and Jessica Rabbit laughing in their rag top convertible as they drive through the mysterious streets of San Berdoo.” I would say that is fairly accurate.
Regardless of the song content, I can’t help but be happy and bouncy while listening to the Ditty Bops. Heck, even the name of the band makes me happy and bouncy. This is definitely another one of those scaring the cats by dancing wildly around the living room type of albums. It’s particularly helpful to know any Western swing steps or old-time boot-scooting moves, but since I don’t, I made up some of my own. My physical therapist says that in a few months I will be back on the dance floor. (Just kidding about the physical therapist bit.)
The title track is a traveling song, as one might expect. I particularly enjoy the use of a snare to give it a steam train feel. “Your Head’s Too Big” and “Angel With an Attitude” are tied for my favorite songs off of Moon Over the Freeway for their lyrical content in combination with the musical arrangements. “Your Head’s Too Big” is a carnival romp that characterizes an egotistical individual using both real and figurative depictions. I cannot help but smile an evil grin after the line, “your head’s so big and tall how is it that your thoughts are so small?” In a way, “Angel With an Attitude” is a song from Big Head’s perspective.
I’ve got a chip on my shoulder and a halo on my head
I’m an angel with an attitude and my favorite color is red
I’ve got God on my side
Who’s that? I don’t know
But I’ll practice my religion while I’m stepping on your toes
The Ditty Bops are approaching promotion of their new album through an unusual method. They are cycling across the country to encourage Americans to forgo their cars and bicycle whenever possible. The nature of the tour is such that they have only a few confirmed dates so far, but you can keep tabs on them through their website as well as the ubiquitous MySpace page. Given what I’ve heard on Moon Over the Freeway, I look forward to seeing a live show when they pedal on up to the Pacific Northwest.