Bandleader Lawrence Welk, who hosted an eponymous show on television for 27 years, probably wouldn't have cared for this DJ remix tribute to his music, which adds contemporary beats to the easy-listening and jazz standards with which his band thrilled generations of seniors. After all, Welk was a pretty conservative guy -- he once kicked a popular singer off his show after she showed a bit too much leg during a telecast. Evidently that's not true of Kevin Welk, the bandleader's grandson and the executive producer of this unlikely project.
Amazingly, Uncorked succeeds in a big way along the lines of Verve's recent remix collection of its illustrious jazz catalog. The record opens with a sample of Welk, who never lost the German accent of his youth, stiffly intoning a typical Welkian benediction: "My friends and fans, you have been such a wonderful audience, and on behalf of all our musical family, we thank you for this tremendous reception. Our love and good wishes to you all." Welk's words are then repeated and jazzed up, and next up comes "Green Sheik of Araby," which kicks in some new beats atop the lovely clarinet of the original. The next number, "Champagne Time," is impossibly groovy -- West Coast DJ Rithma effectively tweaks a sample of Welk's big band and his famous "one-two, one-two." Henry Mancini's "Baby Elephant Walk" is one of the catchiest songs of all time, and Monkey Bars have a lot of fun with it by adding car horns, hip-hoppy bits and a sample of Welk saying "you have been such a wonderful audience," which is slowed down until it sounds scary.
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The majority of the contributors, which include Q-Burns Abstract Message, Nobody, Groove Junkies and JOY & The Spider Club, add intoxicating rhythms to these moldy classics, making for a supreme party platter that will keep things humming until the wee hours.