The ghost of Frank Capra must have smiled when he saw Dave, an amusing and effective update of one of Capra's favorite themes – the scrupulously honest little guy who becomes a force for good against a corrupt system. Dave Kovic (Kevin Kline) runs an employment agency and seems to genuinely enjoy finding work for people who need it. He also bears a striking resemblance to the president of the United States, Bill Mitchell (also played by Kline) and occasionally gets work as a Bill Mitchell impersonator. One day, Dave gets a call from the Secret Service – for security purposes, they want to hire him to act as a decoy for an upcoming appearance by the president. All goes well, but later that evening President Mitchell suffers a massive stroke while in bed with his mistress. Wanting to keep the matter a secret, two of the president's top advisors appeal to Dave to stand in as Bill Mitchell until he regains his health.
Bill Mitchell is the philandering and distant President of the United States. Dave Kovic is a sweet-natured and caring Temp Agency operator, who by a staggering coincidence looks exactly like the President. As such, when Mitchell wants to escape an official luncheon, the Secret Service hires Dave to stand in for him. Unfortunately, Mitchell suffers a severe stroke whilst having sex with one of his aides, and Dave finds himself stuck in the role indefinitely.
Although Dave Grusin is best known as a soundtrack composer and for his jazz-pop recordings, he has always had a great admiration for jazz. This CD (released in a fairly deluxe package) gave Grusin an opportunity to pay tribute to Duke Ellington. He performs ten mostly familiar songs associated with Ellington and wisely features fluegelhornist Clark Terry on five of the selections. Other prominent soloists include tenor saxophonist Pete Christlieb, trombonist George Bohanon, tenor saxophonist Tom Scott (returning to his roots), clarinetist Eddie Daniels (on an orchestrated version of "Mood Indigo"), and pianist Grusin himself. This is a respectful and well-conceived tribute.
This record stands in British music history and Carthy's career roughly where Another Side of Bob Dylan does in American music–the more florrid tracks here, recorded with violinist Dave Swarbrick, show the path to the bridge between Carthy's traditional singer/scholar background and the folk-rock played by bands such as Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span. "Lord Franklin" is a narrative tour-de-force (from which Bob Dylan got the melody for "Bob Dylan's Dream" on Freewheelin' ), "Ramblin' Sailor" is boisterous cautionary tale about the company the title character keeps ashore, and there's also an acoustic recording of "Sailor's Life," a song that Fairport Convention would transmute into an epic electric version, and "Lowlands of Holland," which Steeleye Span later recorded.