No tags :(

Share it




Most of the time around here the reviews have nothing to do with the actual time they’re first posted. This project is meant as a long term resource so any review can be read at any time, not a current news feed where the headlines are out of date before the week is out.

Since it’s being done chronologically that means Christmas records sometime appear in summer and songs about heat waves might appear when there’s two feet of snow on the ground.

But today things just seem to line up, as this otherwise innocuous song about a mandatory side dish served at virtually every summer cookout appears in the midst of summer’s one big holiday weekend.

Eat up.


Meal Preparation
Though Jimmy Preston was in fact an alto saxophonist by trade, and even looked at first as if he’d be a regular entrant in the rock instrumental sweepstakes when he made his debut back in November 1948 with Messin’ With Preston, he soon began singing on record and put his sax back in its case, as he reeled off a string of vocal hits that helped define rock.

That didn’t mean his records were devoid of horns, but since Preston himself was just a passable player he left the solos to his bandmates and concentrated on hosting these kinds of parties.

But while Potato Salad has a few vocal chants, it’s far closer to an instrumental than anything he’s put out in two years and so it’s this second iteration of The Prestonians who get the spotlight shone on them. Unfortunately for them – and for us – this is more of an end of a session throwaway cut pulled for the final B-side of Preston’s stint with Gotham Records rather than something they were really putting much effort into.

Whether or not Preston is prominently featured on this, or plays at all, there’s definitely an alto being featured here, both in the larger ensemble at the start who are playing a gently riffing intro, and then taking one of the solos later on. It’s slightly energetic but hardly exciting and it’s the baritone who interjects some rhythmic placeholders that draw your attention the most here.


With A Pig Foot on The Side
They seem intent on injecting as much energy into this as possible and the final solo taken by a tenor succeeds in that regard to a degree, even though it’s still a mild version of the steamier workouts we’ve seen in the past, both instrumentals from other artists of course, but also the more raucous breaks on Preston’s own releases which tended to try and blow the doors off many of their better songs.

Here they never go for broke however and the structure of the song itself, which keeps returning to that pleasant but hardly vigorous riff that ends with the others chanting Potato Salad twice, means there’s no chance for them to really extend even some of their better playing for long.

It’s fairly well played but not too challenging to play well… a song suited for the early hours of the cookout before things really get jumping, a time when most of the people are still too sober not to demand something to go wild over, yet not quite sober enough to be paying strict attention to the band.


So Who’d You Invite To The Cookout?
There’s always something of a risk when you’re invited to a cookout because generally speaking there’s a lot people with wildly varying degrees of competency in the culinary arts who are bringing many different dishes to their festivities and if you happen to get the wrong person making the wrong dish there’s not much you can do about it.

The same is true for records.

In both cases it’s best if you go by the reputation of the people in question to judge whether or not to put something on your plate and though you might not know everyone on your neighbor’s guest list for a summer cookout you probably do know whatever band you’re thinking about picking up their latest release for and therefore have a decent idea of what to expect out of them.

But sometimes even with someone as reliable as Jimmy Preston who you’ve come to trust to always deliver something edible you still might wind up with some flavorless Potato Salad every once in awhile. If that happens don’t make a big fuss about it, just wait until nobody is looking and dump it in the nearest trash can, or at the very least grab something cold to drink and wash it down one bite at a time.

This record isn’t quite that bad but it’s also probably going to be the least appetizing thing on your plate if the cookout has all the best chefs in rock’s kitchen showing up with dishes of their own.


(Visit the Artist page of Jimmy Preston for the complete archive of his records reviewed to date)