Eight to the Bar

The Romper Room

by Eight To the Bar

Released 2010
Released 2010
"a potpourri of what Eight to the Bar is known for; a colorful mix of vocally oriented swing, jump blues, rockabilly, jazz, and even a little Latin, played by the likes of Van Morrison's original sax player and sung by their award winning vocalists.
Reviews for Eight to the Bar's latest CD, the Romper Room-

Eight To The Bar, which is based in Connecticut but often hits the road (performing as many as 200 dates in a year), is considered one of the hottest and most versatile swing bands around. Founded and led by keyboardist-singer Cynthia Lyon, the group has recorded 11 albums since 1980.
Their latest recording, The Romper Room, is impressive on several levels. 11 of its 12 songs are originals by band members; five of the six musicians contributed tunes. The styles range from retro swing, Louis Prima and Bill Haley to bits of Latin, pop and early r&b. The musicianship is first rate and the singing, which often features two male and two female vocalists, gives the band a distinctive sound of its own.
But most of all, this music is fun and always danceable. The vocals (each of the four singers have opportunities to be in the lead) alternate with excellent solos by Ms. Lyon (on piano and organ), Collin Tilton (tenor, flute and clarinet), and guitarist Tom Whalen. Fine support is contributed by bassist Michael Corsini, drummer Shawn Meehan and vocalist/ percussionist Brinna Jones.
The program begins with the rollicking “Ding Dang Deal” which has a shuffle beat a la Louis Prima, some very good singing by Cynthia Lyon, and spirited tenor and guitar solos. “Party In Providence” is a cooking rock and rollish blues that would have sounded quite natural in 1956. From then on, the momentum does not let up. “The Hullabalues” is a blues with a bridge, “One Day We're Kings” features some fine swing clarinet and piano solos along with the group vocals, and “The Romper Room has a mysterious feel to it which contrasts with the fanciful lyrics.
“September Blue” features Eight To The Bar on a modern Latin tune while “I Love Ribs” is a joyful party tune. “Dirty Dog,” about dumping a bum, is quite catchy. The spirited number “Good For You (Good For Me)” is followed by some modern jazz on “Claire Voyant,” a moody pop tune (“Feels Like Dying”) and a Manhattan Transfer-type treatment of “Candy Man.”
All in all, The Romper Room is an entertaining show with more than its share of variety, all of it taken at danceable tempos. Several of the original songs could catch on if also covered by other groups. Eight To The Bar is definitely a band to check out, either on record or live.

Scott Yanow,
Author of ten jazz books including The Jazz Singers, Swing, Jazz On Film and Jazz On Record 1917-76

New Haven Advocate, 10/12/10
Eight to the Bar, The Romper Room (Jitterbop Records, eighttothebar.com). Thirty-five years is a long time — for anything. Some bands don’t last thirty-five minutes. The fact that Eight to the Bar has been working (gigging/recording) since 1975 is a tribute to the tenacity and talent of band leader, founder, keyboardist and vocalist Cynthia Lyon. The current six-piece line-up offers tight, impeccable dance rhythms and three-part vocal stacks designed to put a smile on your face and springs in your shoes. They remain true to the original Eight to the Bar mission — 1940s Andrews Sisters’ style, and boogie-woogie swing — while expanding the dance tune vocabulary to early jazz, ’50s rock, Motown beats and bossa novas. Lyons’ knowing piano playing, Collin Tilton’s sparse horn arrangements and Shawn Meehan’s rhythmic brushwork help to create a laid-back but highly danceable sound, allowing the four singers’ playful and skilled vocal interplay room to shine. Lead vocal and songwriting credits are shared fairly evenly among the band, lending variety to the 12 tracks. My favorite is “One Day We’re Kings” a whimsical, autobiographical look at the ups and downs of life in the music biz written and sung by Lyon. She ought to know. —James Velvet

Bio & More

Listening to Eight to the Bar is a lot like driving along a time-warped highway precisely halfway between Count Basie's Kansas City and Fats Waller's Harlem, where the car radio picks up everything from “Take the A Train” to “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”. Their material, like their outlandish wardrobes and onstage choreo, is a colorful mix of forties jive and swing, jump blues, and their own swing-influenced tunes. With their female vocals, saxophone, guitar, bass, keyboards and drums, this unique sextet pack a musical and visual wallop not seen in New England since the group's inception in 1975. Since that time they have released 11 CDs, 7 videos, have appeared nationally on HBO, VH-1, P.M. Magazine and have excited audiences from Europe to the Caribbean. At this time the band has released its eleventh CD, The Romper Room.

This Joint Is Jumpin' (originally released on vinyl)
Swingin' School (originally released on vinyl)
Redheads of Rhythm
Something Old, Something New, Something Rhythm, Something Blues
Beat Me Rocking
Behind the Eight Ball
Hey, Sailor!
Superhero Swinger Undercover
You Call This Swing?
Calling All Ickeroos!
The Romper Room

CD Compilations
New Millennium Swing (DM Records) (w/Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Royal Crown Revue & others)
House of Blues Swings (Platinum Records) (w/Lavay Smith, Indigo Swing & others)
Hipsters of Swing (DM Records)
Let’s Swing- Rare Trax (Rolling Stone, German Edition)
Combinado Swing (Argentina)

Swingin' School
Tell Mama/Set You Free
Something Old, Something New, Something Rhythm, Something Blues
Beat Me Rocking
Behind the Eight Ball
Hey, Sailor

Drawing its musical influences from American roots music - swing, boogie woogie, and jump blues
Eight to the Bar is known for its outstanding instrumentalists and sophisticated musical and vocal arrangements, highlighted by female vocals.

With the support of independently produced albums and videos, Eight to the Bar has cultivated a large, enthusiastic following that has put them in clubs from Maine to Miami as well as Europe and the Caribbean. Their rigorous performing schedule (approximately 200 dates per year) has included opening spots for Manhattan Transfer, Robert Cray, Neil Young, the late Roy Orbison, and a recent European tour.

The Romper Room was released in August 2010. The band’s long-awaited 11th CD is a mix of original swing, jazz, and jump blues tunes.


Collin Tilton - Tenor and alto saxophones. Best known for his sax and flute playing on Van Morrison's million selling Moondance album, Collin also played with Etta James on the Rolling Stones' 1978 U.S. Tour. Most recently, he served as horn arranger with Clarence Clemons and the Red Bank Rockers, and has worked with a number of regional bands, notably the Shaboo All Stars.

Cynthia Lyon - Keyboards, vocals. The band's founder and leader, Cynthia is ETTB's primary songwriter and arranger. She has also played with Amyl and the Icons and the Dirty Blondes of New York City.

Shawn Meehan- Drums, percussion. A graduate of Berklee School of Music, Shawn currently resides and teaches drums in Boston. Besides leading his own bands, he has toured extensively throughout the US and Europe and has played with a number of swing and classic r&b bands, notably Toni Lynn Washington, Eddie Kirkland and Johnnie Marshall.

Michael Corsini - Bass guitar, vocals. A veteran bass player and teacher, Mike is best known for his dazzling work with the Magill-LaPine jazz quartet and a voice that can range from do-wop bass to swing soprano in the vocal trio.

Tommy Whalen - Guitar, vocals. Tommy's exciting guitar playing and powerful singing is well known to New England audiences through his work with several New England bands, notably Cyclone Scotty. Tom also leads his own blues rock band, Tommy Whalen & the Ragged Edge.

Brinna Jones – Vocals, percussion. The newest member of ETTB, Brinna started singing professionally in 2002, working with a Boston-based show band followed by backing vocal gigs with many different tribute artists, from Rod Stewart to Shania Twain. In 2005, her love for singing Big Band and Jazz became a dream realized when she opened for Bob Newhart, backed by a 10-piece orchestra. In 2006, Brinna joined the Northeast-renowned group Souled Out, singing background vocals, and opening for The Drifters, The Pointer Sisters and The Temptations.