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Big-T & the Bada-Bings

Musichound Swing!
The Essential Album Guide
Edited by Steve Knopper

Immediately following my first swing dance lesson, I rushed off to the nearest Virgin MegaStore to find a disc I could practice my step, step, rockstep to. Nothing in my collection fit the bill—Robyn Hitchcock, X, and Built To Spill don't exactly swing. But what I did know from swing music? With no clue where to start, I blankly shuffled through the racks for a long time. In the end I zeroed in on Glenn Miller, who I (erroneously) believed to be the emissary of swing. But, I still had had no idea what to buy: there were myriad Miller CDs. How was I supposed to tell which was a "good" Miler recording? I needed a friend whose opinion I trusted, who was knowledgeable, and who would tell me what CDs were worth my cash and my time.

Swing! The Essential Album Guide, brought to you by the good folks at MusicHound, is the swing music consumer's trusted friend. Moreover, this is a friend with more historical knowledge than any one person could possibly possess, a friend with near-exquisiste taste, who knows what swing music is all about. Recognizing that the genre encompasses everything from lounge to jump blues, Editor Steve Knopper and his team embrace a huge bredth of music for inclusion in their album guide. You will find elvis Presley alongside Louis Prima, and Fred Astaire rubbing shoulders with The Atomic Fireballs.

In addition to invaluable biographical and historical information, the guide lists each artist's best albums as Waht To Buy, notated with MusicHound's trademark bone ratings (five bones being the best). There are also listings for What To Buy next, Best Of The Rest, Worth Searching For (hard to find albums), and the ever-important What To Avoid. The indeces list further references, including Web sites, compilations, and readio stations. As a bonus, the folks ar Rounder Records have slipped in a 7-song CD that offers a nice, if already standard, sampling of contemporary swing.

Of course, undertaking such a formidable task is to invite criticism. Some early R&B pioneers were excluded (most notably The Treniers, The Ravens, and Johnny Otis), as were many modern swing practitioners. In addition, while The King and Jerry Lee Lewis get four pages apiece, greats such as Harry James and louis Jordan (Louis jordan for Christ's sake!) are stuffed down to a half-page each. Granted, it is impossible to make everyone happy, and the folks at MusicHound have done a better job than most. They have produced a first-rate, fascinating, and informative guide to a wealth of music that has become its own genre. So before sinking anymore of your salary into CD purchases that may only end up collecting dust on the shelf, make youtself a new friend. this one won't let you down.

- Christian Puffer

Year 1999 Reviews
Year 2000 Reviews
Year 2001 Reviews
Year 2002 Reviews
Year 2003 Reviews
Bellevue Cadillac—Prozac Nation
Big Kahuna—Hawaiian Swing
Big Rude Jake—Big Rude Jake
Big Tubba Mista—Knock One Back
Bill Elliott Swing Orchestra—
Swingin' The Century
Bim Bam Baby—Who Am I Gonna Love
Black Jacket Racket—Volume II
Blue Saracens—What's A Saracen?
The Camaros—Evil
Casey MacGill & The Spirits of Rhythm—Jump
The Delegates—Delegatin'
George Gee & His Make Believe Ballroom Orchestra—Swingin' Live
Got Swing?—Volume I
The Music of Harry Warren—
Swing! Here and Now
House of Blues Swings!
Indigo Swing—Red Light
Jet Set Six—Livin' It Up
Lisa Stansfield—Swing: The Movie
Mob Hits—Volume I
Mora's Modern Rhythmists—
Mr. Rhythmist Goes To Town
Ray Gelato Giants—The Men From Uncle
Rockabilly Hall of Fame—
VolumesI & II
Royal Crown Revue—Walk on Fire
The Yalloppin' Hounds—
Ghetto Swing Extreme
  Retro Film Reviews
Swing!: The Movie
  Retro Reading Reviews
The Swing Book—Degen Pener
Musichound's Swing!; The Essential Music Guide

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