Between 1949-1969, the Firehouse Five Plus Two
was one of the most popular Dixieland bands around. Recording steadily for the Good Time Jazz label, performing regularly in the Southern California area while wearing fireman outfits and gaining quite a bit of publicity, the group combined the fun of Dixieland with bits of corny but usually inspired humor. The year after what would be their final regular recording, Firehouse Five Plus Two
appeared at Turk Murphy
's Earthquake McGoon's in San Francisco; in 2005 a tape of their performances was released for the first time. It is a pity that it is not much better. The recording quality is OK, but the cornball humor really wears thin quickly and completely overshadows the music. In particular, trombonist-leader Ward Kimball
is the main guilty party, utilizing duck calls (!) on at least three of the numbers for an excessive length of time. There are too many so-so vocals, soprano saxophonist George Probert
apparently finds it impossible to play in tune, and the few worthwhile moments are brief and ruined by extra musical effects. This set is only for completists of the band. Anyone else is advised to pick up a sampling of their Good Time Jazz recordings.