Let everyone else rhapsodize about Taylor Swift and her glam big-star gal-pal “Bad Blood” music video avengers. It can’t hold hold a samurai sword to the Dustbowl Revival’s “Never Had to Go.”
The Venice, Cali.-based bluegrass/gospel/pre-war blues/New Orleans swing band’s first single from its fourth full-length album With a Lampshade On–due from Signature Sounds Recordings on July 21–is fine enough on its own, but it makes for a sprightly video thanks to the still spry participation of the one and only Dick Van Dyke.
Did I say still spry? The man’s 89, for Pete’s sake, and doesn’t look any older than me! And moves a whole lot better! He could probably perfectly still trip over the ottoman in the living room of The Dick Van Dyke Show and look none the worse for wear.
The “Never Had to Go” clip commences with Dick dropping the needle on a scratchy LP, then cuts to the Dustbowlers performing the lively tune on the patio. Dick turns to his wife–his real wife, Arlene, at their real house–and tries to get her to dance with him, as vocalist Liz Beebe smiles at him from outside. But Arlene is busy cooking lunch and ignores him, even as he continues to coax her by dancing with a stuffed bear, playing a toy accordion and guitar, and mugging and clowning and reminding us what an extaordinary performer he is–and what a joy it is to see him again and in such great shape. Indeed, he’s so sweetly persistent that Arlene eventually gives in and shows herself a light-footed dancer in her own right.
And while it’s such an upbeat tune and lively performance, the video is not without suspense: Dick and the Dustbowlers are interacting with each other throughout, but it’s always in quickly intercut separate shots and never together in the same one, leading you to feel cheated in that for whatever reason—cheap budget constraints, most likely-they did their work at different times and in different places. But sure enough, Dick and Arlene come outside dancing in front of Dustbbowl Revival in the last half-minute, leaving all of them–and us–thoroughly satisfied.