The Atomic Fireballs were formed in Detroit in 1996 by John Bunkley and James Bostek. The two of them met when Bostek's wife was working with Bunkley and introduced them. Although the group plays their own brand of high-energy swing music, they list their influences to be as far ranging as Louis Jordan and Black Flag. The lineup of the group is Bostek on trumpet, Bunkley on vocals, Tony Buccilli playing trombone, Duke Kingins on guitar, Shawn Scaggs on double bass, Eric Schabo wailing tenor sax, and Randy Sly on piano. Their first album was the self-released Birth of the Swerve (1998). The album was good enough to garner the interest of major labels. That meant that the follow-up, 1999's Torch This Place, was not an independent release but rather on Atlantic.
2013 marks the 20th anniversary of Us3’s multi-million selling debut album “Hand On The Torch”. In honour of that, the new Us3 album “The Third Way (Hand On The Torch Vol II)” marks a return to the classic Us3 sound, with 5 of the 14 tracks containing interpolations of a number of well-known jazz standards, including Dizzy Gillespie’s “Manteca”, Duke Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing”, and Lee Morgan’s “The Sidewinder”.
MC duties are taken by 3 former Us3 collaborators; Akil Dasan (“Schizophonic” & “Say What!?”), KCB (“Broadway & 52nd”), and Tukka (“Hand On The Torch”). A video for the lead track “Never Go Back” can be seen on the Us3videos channel on YouTube (from September 16th).
Sally Trent has an illegitimate child, but cannot support her and gives the baby up for adoption. The father, Michael Gardner, leaves for China not knowing about the baby, and she assumes he has abandoned her for life. She gets a job as a torch singer, changes her name to Mimi Benton, and becomes notorious for her drinking and philadering. Mimi fills in on a children's radio program as the character "Aunt Jenny," singing and telling bedtime stories, and eventually uses the airtime to find her long lost daughter, part with her wild lifestyle, and reunite with Michael.