SXSW Song of the Day: Graham Reynolds and Golden Arm Trio – Caravan


If your mind drifted to Ocean’s Eleven at 0:45 here, it is working just fine. Duke Ellington’s “Caravan” has been a well-tread standard since 1936. The Golden Arm Trio’s cover has a vaudeville feeling right from the get-go. Through the piano, a twisted Bugs Bunny announces the arrival of the unmistakably long first note of “Caravan”, and then it all goes (even more) nuts from there.

Austin-based Graham Reynolds is as bright and manic in his composition as Ellington’s original is off-kilter, moody and sparse. The baseline rhythm has been sped up to ludicrous speed, and a big band sound really pushes it over the edge. If the original projected the secretive silhouettes of circus musicians creeping behind you on the wall as you walk by in a Pink Panther pastel, this cover alerts you to their presence via a megaphone.

Of course, yours truly keeps seguing into an Egyptian snake charmer mode half way through the trumpet solo. Quite how a cold-blooded animal would be able to move at this breakneck speed is anyone’s guess though. More caffeine may help.

Graham Reynolds & Golden Arm Trio play Elephant Room on March 15 at 10:00pm.

Posted on by Gary in Song of the Day, South By Southwest

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