western swing - Page 2

Kay Marie

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kaymarieKay Marie – s/t

LJ 002
A Kiss Goodnight – You’re so Close (to Losing Me) – He Used to Cry – Sunshine in the Moonlight – Artic Sea – Yours Forever – How Can you Blame a Woman? – Dying for Love – Can’t You See – Doghouse Daddy – The World Can Wait – I Won’t Be Scared – Dead & Gone Blues – You Better Listen – Cry Baby Blues

Kay Marie caught the attention of music lovers through the Golden West Trio but now Kay Marie, the girl with the golden voice, goes solo and releases a brilliant debut album. Introduced by laudatory liner notes written by Big Sandy, it’s a collection of 15 songs including 13 originals.
Though the core of the band remains the same as the Golden West Trio (Kay Marie’s brother Aaron Acquafondata on lead guitar, Kevin Morrison on upright bass and Derek McDonald on drums) the young lady – who also produced all but two songs – invited a couple of musicians to add different musical styles to each song.
After the soft introduction of  A Kiss Goodnight that features some nice jazz violin part, you’re treated with a good dose of late 50’s Honky Tonk with steel guitar with You’re so Close and Sunshine in the Moonlight that captures the spirit of the genre. And this song her voice reminded me one of my very favourite singer, the too often forgotten Ginny Wright. You’ll also find some swing, with the clarinet driven He Used to Be or more in a western swing vein Doghouse Daddy, that reminds of Bullfiddle Boogie and features Lee Jeffriess (Big Sandy and the Fly-Rite Boys) on steel. Blues is not forgotten whether it is electric (Arctic Sea), more jazzy (Can’t You See), with harmonica (You Better Listen) or blue yodel in the style of Jimmie Rodgers (Cry Baby Blues). Also on the bill are a waltz with mandolin, a Presley-esque ballad (How Can You Blame a Woman) and a Tex-mex tune with accordion, all played with the same degree of success. But I kep the best song for the end,  I Won’t Be Scared (also released on vinyl single), a fantastic song that mixes a Louis Prima beat with  a rockabilly feel, an acoustic jazz guitar solo and saxes. You’ll surprise yourself to play it again and again (also watch the excellent video she did for that song).
A very good record full of styles, talent (that voice and the band) and strong songwriting.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Starliters – Stop Kiddin’

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the Starliters - Stop Kiddin'
the Starliters – Stop Kiddin’

El Toro3023
Come On Stroll – Don’t Wanna Fly Back Home – I’ll Do It Every Time – I’ll Never Be Your Man – I’m Not A Kid Anymore – I’m Wasting My Time – It’s All Your Fault – Little Grass Shack – Long Gone Train – Once Again With You – Take And Give – Tennessee Local – The Honky Tonk Dream – This Chick Drinks More Than Me – Where My Little Love Has Gone – Who Who Boogie

There’s not that much Italian bands, but quantity doesn’t matter, quality does. And you’ll find quality with the Starliters. Featuring members from the Tribal Bops, this combo has, since the mid 90’s established a solid reputation with releases on On The Hill and Tail. With 16 tracks and 9 originals, their latest release is loaded with excitment, joy and first class musicianship. You’ll find a stroller (the opening track), two wild and frantic rockers (Don’t Wanna Fly Back Home and I’m Wasting My Time), hillbilly boogie (Who Who Boogie and Tennessee Local sung by drummer Frank who is very close to Tenneessee Ernie Ford; both featuring guest Jerry Boogie on piano), western swing (Cindy Walker’s It’s All Your Fault, the excellent This Chick drinks more than me), a ballad (Once again with you) and a BR5-49 type of song (Honky Tonk Dream) and some excellent covers (especially Johnny Horton’s I do it everytime). Icing on the cake,  Rockin’ Bonnie joins force to sing duet on the classic Take and Give.
Available at El Toro
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Cow Cow Boogie – Somewhere Down The Line

cowcowboogieRhythm Bomb
Somewhere Down The Line – Home Cookin’ – Cash On The Barrelhead – Track 49 – Steam Heat – Rain – Sleep With One Eye Open – Ain’t No Friend Of Mine – Love To Live – Heart Stays Broken – Wild – She’ll Be Gone – Caravan

The world needs more band like Cow Cow Boogie. Why? Because they are cool, but even more important they don’t seem to care about boundaries . Led by the powerful voice of Deborah their lead singer, the band blends together elements of different styles and make them work to create their own distinctive sound by merging a blues harp, a rockabilly guitar, a western swing steel and a predominant slap bass. Their drummer adds his own touch by playing shuffles with brushes, drum rolls ala Fever or banging his tom toms like a wild papoose.
In the end, the songs range from blues with a hillbilly beat to rockabilly with a blues feel and all the combination allowed by this line-up with a touch of jazz and some 60’s girl groups  feel thrown in for good measure.
Definitely cool!

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Swinging Hayriders – the Walls Keep Talkin’

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swinginghayridersVintjarn records – VIN027 – 2014
Heart Attacks / Eatin’ Right Out Of Your Hand / You Better Wake Up Babe! / Great Big Needle / Skylark / (Don’t Roll Those) Bloodshot Eyes / Fan It / Cowboy Stomp / Cow Cow Boogie / Bring It On Down To My House Honey / Welcome Mat / Blue Skies / Sick, Sober And Sorry / I’ve Taken All I’m Gonna Take From You / The Walls Keep Talkin’

The Swinging Hayriders are a six-piece band from Sweden. The line up consists of Maria Stille on vocals, Peter Anderson on steel, Mats Bengtsson on piano and accordion, Johan Ek on guitar, Ulrik Jannson on double bass and Patrick Malmros on drums.
As Dave “Pappy” Stuckey puts it in his laudatory liner notes, Maria’s voice brings to mind other belles of the West like Carolina Cotton or laura Lee McBride. The bad is equally good providing solid and inventive musicianship with tight arrangements with twin guitars (Anderson shows he assimilated the styles of the great masters of the instruments, old or new like Jeremy Wakefield) and, last but not least, swing (don’t laugh, too many so called western swing band are just rockabilly band with steel and fiddle). Recorded by the magic fingers and ears of Axel Praefcke and Ike Stoye at Lightning Recorders in Berlin, the sound is top notch.
If, old grumpy that I am, would really try to find a flaw to this album, it would be the lack of original material. Their set consists of well-know classic from Hank Penny, Bob Wills, Spade Cooley, the Light Crust Doughboys as well as a couple of jazz standarts thrown in like in the good old days (Blue Sky, Skylark). But it remains a minor flaw compared to the excitment this record gives.
Last thing: it comes in a superb digipack designed by Chris Wilkinson of the Zazou Cowboys.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Sidewynders (the)

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the Sidewynders - let's go sparkin' with...
the Sidewynders – let’s go sparkin’ with…

The Sidewynders – Let’s Go Sparkin’ With…

Rhythm Bomb – RBR5788 – 2014
Lyin’ Baby – Heart In A Daze – Salty Dog Blues – Fancy Free – No Shame – Knock On Wood – Mad At You – Dry Run – Closer & Closer – Every Girl’s Heart – The Blues Don’t Care – She’s Got It Made – She’s Alright With Me

Rhythm Bomb launched its Los Angeles branch with two releases that will be hard to top: the Frantic Rockers and this album, Let’s Go Sparkin’ with the Sidewynders.
The line-up remained unchanged since their debut album except for the addition of Brian “Shorty” Poole of Dave’n’Deke Combo fame on steel and double bass. The band rips through a 13-song-half-an-hour set of mostly originals ranging from Sun inspired Rockabilly to hillbilly bop with fine harmonies and a bit of western swing in between with superb interplay between Ramon Espinoza on guitar and Poole on steel. Cervantes sings with his heart (and a bit of his guts too)  while Carlos Velazquez provides a solid beat but not too heavy.  Danny Angulo (Rip Carson, Omar) guest on three tracks on second and baritone guitar.
Perfectly recorded by Poole and Wally Hersom for two songs it’s a killer from start to finish!

Fred ‘Virgil’ Turgis

Dave Stuckey & the Rhythm Gang

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Dave Stuckey - Get A Load of This - HMG
Dave Stuckey – Get A Load of This – HMG

Dave Stuckey & the Rhythm Gang – Get a Load of This!

HMG 3010 [2000]
Brand New Love ~ You Better Wake Up Baby ~ They Did The Boogie ~ Nobody’s Sweetheart ~ I’ll Take My Old Guitar ~ Pick-A-Rib ~ Whose Honey Are You ~ Coyote Blues ~ You Shoulda Thought Of That ~ Lookin’ Around ~ Kansas City Kitty ~ Hitch My Wagon ~ Some Of These Days ~ Beauty Is As Beauty Does

This is as close as any western swing band from the golden era as you can get today. As a true lover and connoisseur, Dave Stuckey (formerly of the Dave and Deke Combo) gathered an impressive ten piece band featuring Jeremy Wakefield on steel, Whit Smith and Dave Biller on guitars, T. Bonta on piano, Elana Fremerman and Eamon McLoughlin on twin fiddles, Stanley Smith on clarinet, Bob Stafford on trombone, Lisa Pankratz on drums and on basses either Kevin Smith or Jake Erwin. Together or separately these fine congregation have played with Wayne Hancock, Dale Watson, the Lucky Stars, Kim Lenz, the Hot Club Of Cowtown, theAsylum Street Spankers, High Noon, Ronnie Dawson. Impressive isn’t it? No need to say that they swing like hell. This is the perfect vehicle for Dave Stuckey’s easy going vocals (a bit like Jack Teagarden).
The set list is very solid and includes covers like Adolph Hofner’s I’ll Keep My Old Guitar, Benny Goodman’s Pick-A-Rib, Johnnie Lee Wills’ Coyotte Blues and standards like Whose Honey Are You, Nobody’s Sweetheart and Some Of These Days made popular in western swing by Leon Selph, Bob Wills and Milton Brown. There’s also five Stuckey’s originals that are so good it’s hard to tell whether they’re from the 1946 or 2000!
Billy Horton’s flawless production adds to the confusion (no need to say that it’s been recorded live in the studio).
If you don’t dance to this record, you must be dead!


 

davestuckey_dinahDave Stuckey & the Rhythm Gang – Dinah ep

Goofin records GREP213
Woah Babe – Dinah – Twin Guitar Special – Did Anybody Mention My Name?

The songs of this ep were recorded during the same sessions that gave “Get A Load Of This”. Woah Babe! and Dinah are first rate western swing. Biller, Smith and Wakefield have plenty of room to express themselves on Bob Wills’ Twin Guitar Special. The last song is a swingin / rural bop version of Dave and Deke’s Did Anybody Mention My Name with superb twin fiddles reminiscent of Spade Cooley. Great.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Read the interview with Dave Stuckey here.