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Hot! Savage! Hedonistic Swing!

The New Deal Rhythm Band began as the back-up band for the One Reel Vaudeville Show in Seattle, Washington around 1972. The band became so popular it went out on its own playing clubs in and around the Northwest.

After Cheryl Bentyne and Jerry A. Ranger joined the band , the group began touring throughout the western states becoming well-known in the casino markets of Lake Tahoe and Reno as well as the hottest clubs in the San Francisco Bay area. It was during this period that the band recorded its first album, “Hep! Hep!”

After Cheryl left the band in 1976 to join Manhattan Transfer, Mary Cleere Haran, the sultry songstress who had been featured in Beach Blanket Babylon in San Francisco joined the band for a short stint. She was replaced by Linda Asher in 1976 who remained with the group until 1985. It was this later group that recorded two more albums.

In 1978, the New Deal recorded “Swing Out In The Groove.” The New Dealers were huge fans of Louis Prima and Keeley Smith and their energy on stage matched that of the finest moments of Louis and Keeley’s shows with Sam Butera and the Witnesses. The album paid tribute to them as well as Ray Charles, Duke Ellington, the Sherman Brothers, and even Star Trek – the Original Series!

In 1980, while appearing for an extended standing room only engagement at the Starlight Roof of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco, the New Dealers recorded their third album at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. The “White Album” introduced original material in the swing tradition along with swing classics. By that time, the group was touring internationally at colleges, community concert series, the Playboy Club, and major hotels and casinos throughout the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean.

All three of the albums were produced and arranged by Jerry A. Ranger with contributions by members of the group Kevin Chalk (piano) and Steve Yamasaki (baritone sax).

More history here.



Steve Allen ~ Upright Bass (76-77)
Lon "The Happy Slapper" Alsman ~ Upright Bass (74-76)
Tom Anastasio ~ Bass
Linda Asher ~ Vocals (76-85)
Cheryl Bentyne ~ Vocals (74-76)
Eric "Nimrod" Bjorklund ~ Trombone (78-81)
Chris Cannard, Trombone (81-82)
Kevin Chalk “Johnny Stool” ~ Piano (77-81)
Mark "Sparky" Clark ~ Drums ( 80 -84)
Chris Cole ~ Baritone Saxophone (79-80)
Phil DeBasket "Shallat" ~ Vocals
Phil Demaree – Bass, Tuba ( ? -85)
Ray Downey ~ Tenor Saxophone (77-78)
Gary Evans ~ Trumpet (77-78)
Bill "Boston Bob" Grey ~ Vocals, Guitar (81- 84)
Parke Hall ~ Tenor Saxophone (79-80)
Mary Cleere Haran ~ Vocals (76)
Louie DeSax (Healy) ~ Tenor Saxophone
John "Purple Dog" Holte ~ Alto Saxophone, Clarinet (74)
Dave Keim ~ Trombone (76-78)
Jim Kerl ~ Trumpet (79-82)
Art Langston ~ Upright Bass, Tuba (78-79)
Mark Larson ~ Drums
Bill Majkut ~ Upright Bass (77-78)
Gary McKaig "Tommy Brone" ~ Trombone
Peter Montalbano “Rocky Sostenuto” ~ Trumpet, Vocals (78-80)
Ron "Froggy" Nations ~ Alto & Soprano Saxophone
Bill "Jr. Blackout" Owens ~ Guitar
Jerry A. Ranger “Elfo P. Fuggins” ~ Alto and SopranoSaxophone; arranger (74-84)
Ed Reynolds ~ Baritone Saxophone (75-81)
Steve Ryals “Rico Royale”~ Tenor Saxophone (80-81)
Craig "Tiny Sforzando" Schroeder ~ Trumpet, Vocals (74-77)
Robert Shangrow – Bass (78)
Lloyd Spoon ~ Trombone (77-78)
Michael Trullinger “Ludwig of Hollywood” ~ Drums (74-79)
Jim Vaughn ~ Bass
Steve Yamasaki ~ Baritone Saxophone (80-83)
Chuck ? ~ Guitar (75-77)
There were more members...


"At 'The City' the New Deal Rhythm Band is kicking up ... a musical storm. The principal reason is a sensational singer named Linda Asher. Asher, for sure, has enough powerhouse talent to knock dead any audience."

Philip Elwood
San Francisco Examiner

"If the sort of music coming out of the New Deal Rhythm Band is representative of the sounds of the '30s, it's a wonder folks found the Depression Era depressing at all. It is a campy, brassy, swinging show."

The Memphis Press-Scimitar

"When the New Deal Rhythm Band gets cooking, the jumping jive seizes everyone within earshot...you can't resist throwing your cares away to the music."

The Daily Journal American

"They're the hottest thing in Seattle...musically this is what's happening in town. The phenomenon in question is the New Deal Rhythm Band. The excitement stems from the fact that the band, eight musicians and a vocalist, plays swing music"

The Rolling Stone

The NDRB pulled the generations together at the Navigator, as apparently, it does wherever it performs."

The Denver Post

"While the New Deal Rhythm Band is, first, and foremost, fun to be around, it is not merely a novelty act..."

John Wasserman
San Francisco Chronicle

"...the NDRB combines technical brilliance, marvelously authentic arrangements and considerable razzamatazz in presenting one of the liveliest and most hilarious sets of music we've heard in a long time."

The San Francisco Examiner

"The arrangements are a delight, the show is well paced...showmanship to burn.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"There are reasons why NDRB can stomp and laugh and be merry: The group is very good not only in capturing the music from the Great Depression and World War II years, but at clowning, joking and sharing their good time with an audience. But the group is more than an anachronism of different days. The act is new, even when it is old - and most of all, unrefuted, sterling fun!"

Spokane Daily Chronicle

"Bringing swing-jazz sounds of the 30s and 40s, the New Deal Rhythm Band is an eight-man-one-woman group of exceptional strength, tightness and continuity."

Fun & Gaming
The Nevada Bi-Monthly

"The New Deal Rhythm Band delivers a crisply paced show with no slow points, and the musicians are first rate in every respect."

The Winnipeg Tribune

Listen to NDRB Albums Here