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Big-T & the Bada-Bings


Saddle Up & Boogie
Western Swing With a Zing

Western Swing With a Zing, new out from Saddle Up & Boogie, is aptly named, and will delight swing fans with its imminently danceable tunes. There is something to be said for clear, controlled vocals and happily precise instrumentation. The band is crisp, and this collection fosters appreciation of the unique, meticulous sound of Patti Maxine's steel guitar and the sweet, purposeful vocals of singer Stella D'Oro.

"Sadie Green" and "All Your Fault" are bouncy, fun pieces, while the more sedate "Who Walks In" and "Anytime" allow the marvelous Maxine to strut her stuff on the steel guitar. However, what the vocals accomplish in their appealing clarity on these thoughtful selections, they sometimes lose in a lack of emotive soul—but then, it's hard to sound like Patsy Cline and still swing. This is no slight to Schlotterbeck, Bohn, and McLaughlin, who present a polished framework through which D'Oro weaves the lyrics. On a whole, the band presents itself in a relaxed and comfortable manner, as opposed to the in-your-face energy of many neo-swing ensembles.

Standout tracks include "Georgia Boogie" and the very catchy "There'll Be Some Changes Made", the latter song having already hit #1 on the Swing Top 40 chart. D'Oro seems to take great pleasure in singing "Cowgal Blues", and her enthusiasm adds to the listener¹s enjoyment of the lyrics. The obligatory standard "Is You Is", presented in the context of Western Swing, offers a refreshing and decidedly unique interpretation. Special guest musician Dennis English calls attention to himself on the fiddle in a jumping number titled, "My Window Faces the South."

Overall, this album is memorable and polished. The friendly presentation of its melodies makes it a good bet for a wide age group of listeners or dancers. Let this CD be the cowboy hat in your swing collection.

—Frankie Hagan

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