4.0 Stars - Very Good
Roberta Donnay & The Prohibition Mob Band’s intoxicating record, Bathtub Gin, takes listeners on a stroll through the 1920s and ‘30s as these artists magically revive the Jazz Age of America.
The award-winning singer/songwriter, accompanied by some amazingly talented musicians, recreate a first-rate listening experience of the traditional big band sound with this authentic collection of vintage jazz, blues and swing tunes. Most of the tracks are exquisitely arranged covers of '20s and ‘30s gems. However, there are also four party-rousing shout-chorus originals that, without question, evoke the spirit of those golden years in music.
From the cloche hat and flapper-like attire she dons for the album cover, to her fine and seductive vocals that call to mind such greats as Bessie Smith, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, Donnay makes this classic sound relevant in today’s world. Her performance style is effortlessly cool. She doesn’t try too hard to attract attention, adopting a “less is more” approach. She’s content to let the music take center stage, which only further serves to highlight her incredible voice.
What strikes you most while listening is her insane delivery. You never once doubt her abilities as she commands every nuance of a song in her poised, delicate manner. She exercises incredible control with her range, resulting in an enchanting tone that is full of warmth and tenderness.
The album as a whole is enchanting with its tasteful covers and clever originals. Highlights include the sassy title track “Bathtub Gin”; the sultry “Why Don’t You Do Right”; the cheeky “Throw Your Heart (Over The Fence)” and the Broadway-flavored “Horizontal Mambo.” “Just What The Doctor Ordered” is a hip duet with R&B singer Nicolas Bearde. “When I Take My Sugar To Tea" is a piece reminiscent of New Orleans. Lastly, there's “Happy Feet,” which is jump-swing inspired and also one of my favorites.
Overall, Bathtub Gin succeeds in reviving the Prohibition era, making for quite a pleasurable listening experience.
For more information on Bathtub Gin, please visit
Donnay’s website or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
CELEBRITY CAFE - Roberta Donnay & The Prohibition Mob Band - 'Bathtub Gin' Review