Janet Klein’s ukulele is no gimmick. Nor are her “obscure, lovely and naughty songs from the ’10s, ’20s and ’30s.” Klein and her L.A.-based band, The Parlor Boys, are about as real a deal as it gets. More than just fans of phonographs and sepia tone, Klein and company are musical archaeologists, taking crumbling sheet music and 78 rpm records from their private collections and performing it with sincerity and authenticity.
Originally choosing the life of an artist, Klein fell into the life of a chanteuse by accident when she began adding old-time numbers to her poetry readings. Her love of the music and her lilting alto drew many suitors, including like-minded musicians such as Tom Marion and Robert Armstrong of underground comic artist Robert Crumb’s band, the Cheap Suit Serenaders. By 1996, Klein’s Parlor Boys numbered a dozen, performing nearly forgotten ragtime, vaudeville and other gems from Tinpan Alley.
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