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Big-T & the Bada-Bings


The Swing-O-Matics
The Swing-O-Matics

Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover. Sometimes the kitschy name, the Dick Tracy cover art, and the anachronistic "Hi Fi" badge are all signs of a half-hearted effort from a group of re-cast rock-and-roll poseurs. Sometimes.

But in the case of The Swing-O-Matics' self-titled debut, the über-retro trappings are dead-on. The first track, "Almost Anything," has you believing this band could make almost any song a toe-tapper. The capable crooning of James Victor winds its way down "Route 66," weaving between tables and winking at the ladies. "Talkin' Dirty to Me" highlights the strengths of this Wisconsin octet: moderate tempos, balanced arrangements and sing-along lyrics. The Swing-O-Matics take the familiar neo-swing formula of little-big-band players and Vegas-swing charts and give it some style. The upbeat cadence and vibrant vibes of their original composition, "Swing That Thing," is typical of this record.

Where the album begins to wear thin is the forced adaptation of "I Dream of Jeannie" as a swing-latin hybrid, dragging competent chart players through clearly unfamiliar mambo territory. This is not the artistry of Stan Getz, or even an homage… it's filler. The "Topsy/Whole Lotta Love/Sing Sing Sing" medley that closes this production is uninspired, going where the unbridled energy of Johnny Favourite and Lee Press-On rule the roost.

Without tempting the dark genius of Big Rude Jake or the brass-knuckle beauty of Royal Crown Revue, The Swing-O-Matics deliver well-played, accessible music sure to put a smile on the face of dancers, music fans and casual listeners alike.

—Dante Murphy

Year 1999 Reviews
Year 2000 Reviews
Year 2001 Reviews
Year 2002 Reviews
Year 2003 Reviews
Dave Berger and The Sultans of Swing—Doin' The Do!
Blue Lunch—Not Live at the Copa
Blues Jumpers—Royal Motel
Johnny Boyd—The Last Word In
Buddy Blue—Pretend It's Okay
BR549—This is BR549
Dennis Caiazza and Swing Factory—
Liz Callaway—The Beat Goes On
Matt Catingub's Big Kahuna and The Copa Cat Pack—Shake Those Hula Hips!
Cocktail Angst—Big Top Parade
Gerard Carelli—Lucky To Be Me
Rebecca Kyler Downs—
Love Me Like Candy
Gas Money—Hopeless Love Affair
The Good Fellas—Salute!
Charlie Gracie—I'm All Right
Wayne Hancock—A-Town Blues
Skip Heller—Jazz From Hell(er)
Jools Holland—The Swing Album
The Jaztronauts—Swank
Jump 4 Joy—Cutest Lil' Boogie
KGB Swing—Proletarian Swing
Laika And The Cosmonauts—
Laika Sex Machine
Linda & The Big King Jive Daddies—
Linda & The Big King Jive Daddies
Jimmy Luxury—My True Love Is...
Maci Miller—A Very Good Night
Swing Nouveau—Shakin' When Stirred
Alex Pangman—They Say...
The Prairie Cats—'Til the Daytime Fades
Lee Press-On & The Nails—Playing Dirty
Dexter Romweber—Chased By Martins
Frank Sinatra—Sinatra Love Songs
The Stingrays surf Band—
Don't Fear the Reverb
Stardust Records Presents—
Vocal and Jazz Ecstacy
Ron Sunshine & Full Swing—Candy
The Swing-O-Matics—
The Swing-O-Matics
The Swingtips—Roswell
Joe Turley—When The Jitterbug Bites
Mitch Woods—Jump For Joy
Yalloppin' Hounds—New Yalloppin' City

Retro Reading Reviews
The Aloha Shirt
Cine Mexicano, California Crazy & Beyond, Poker
Cult Vegas
Dark City Dames
Entering Germany 1944-1949
The House That Jack Built: My Life As a Trailblazer in Broadcasting and Entertainment
Leni Riefenstahl: Five Lives
Making The Wiseguys Weep:
The Jimmy Roselli Story
Truer Than True Romance
My Father's Daughter—Tina Sinatra
Tell It To The Future


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