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Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys

It's Time! – 2003 (Yep Roc)

Reviewed by Jon Johnson

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CDs by Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys

In a way, this represents a kind of a moment of rebirth for Robert "Big Sandy" Williams and his long-standing outfit, the Fly-Rite Boys seeing as how it's their first album for the Yep Roc label after nearly a decade as a linchpin of HighTone's roster.

And in spite of the new label, fans will be happy to find that it's pretty much business as usual for Williams and his band, mixing clever songwriting, Williams likable vocals and the band's impeccable musicianship playing elements of rockabilly, vintage country, early 20th century jazz and '50s R&B.

Fans of Williams' 1998 solo album "Dedicated to You" will cheer the presence of LA doo-wop kings the Lonely Blue Boys as backing vocalists on the album's opening and closing numbers. The opener, "Chalk It Up to the Blues," is prime-cut '57 Elvis right down the line, with its propulsive electric bass (!) and the Lonely Blue Boys doing their best Jordanaires impersonation. And the closer - "The Night is For Dreamers" - could almost pass for an outtake from Williams' solo album, with its smooth and cool vocals and spare musical backing.

Also worthy of mention are "Wishing Him Away," "Love Debut" and bassist Jeff West's vocal turn on the jazzy "The Money Tree."

It might be pretty much business as usual, but it's hard to fault Williams for sticking with a good thing.