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Big-T & the Bada-Bings


Johnny Boyd - The Last Word In...
by Dante Murphy

"Comin' Home to You," the opening track to Johnny Boyd's solo debut, Last Word In (Cliffdive), features the sweet shuffle-rhythm that was a signature of Johnny's years with Indigo Swing. As such, it is the perfect introduction to an album conceived as a return to a cherished and almost forgotten place--the heart of Johnny Boyd. Comin' home to himself after years of compromise, Boyd transcends the familiar bounds of the swing revival to deliver a magnificent collection of beautiful and introspective songs.

The album's cohesive element is not its musical genre but its thematic substance and emotional accessibility. Each song is another road to that place inside, whether the ardent stroll of "The One I Love" or the giddy-up pledge of "I'll Do Right By You." Boyd's sincere vocal style is the musical highlight that makes it all work, crooning the sweet serenade of "Angie's Song" and adding the dash of humor that makes "Some Eggs" so delicious.

The spiritual "Twisted (and Turned Around)" harmonizes with the earnestness of its gospel arrangement. The epiphany that brought Boyd back to the recording studio--that the music in his soul could overcome the pervasive sleaze of the industry--is the driving force behind this tune, and in many ways, this entire album.

Boyd's fans from his Indigo Swing days will ask whether the album is good for dancing. Emphatically: Yes. Lindy Hoppers will pack the dance floor for "Donąt Know What I Was Doing," while barflies tap their toes and nod their heads. Other sure-fire dance hits include "Honey-Dew," a paean to early '50s rock-and-roll, featuring former Indigo saxman Baron Shul, and "Last Word In," a two-steppin' dream with an infectious melody and engaging, self-effacing lyrics.

Whether music is fuel for your feet or food for your soul, this album is essential. Last Word In can be described by the last word in this review: Perfect.

This review appears in the Second Anniversary issue of ATOMIC Magazine.

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