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Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys

Feelin' Kinda Lucky – 1997 (HighTone)

Reviewed by Don Yates

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CDs by Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys

This retro Southern California combo has thrown some of the most swinging parties on record. Their third album for Hightone is no exception. This shows the band continuing to move away from rockabilly and toward a percolating swing sound that's sure to keep the dance floors packed. The Fly-Rite Boys have evolved into a tight western swing band with plenty of irresistible bounce and verve, highlighted by Lee Jeffriess's steel pyrotechnics.

While Big Sandy's lyrics are fairly lightweight, he has an endearing light vocal tone with a slight quaver that's equally effective crooning on gently swinging ballads or shouting over fiery stompers. The entire album's a fun listen, with the standouts including "The Loser's Blues" and "Three Years Blind," which leaven sad song themes with good humor and white-hot swing arrangements, and "Backdoor Dan," a heated Big Sandy original that tips its hat to Roy Brown's jump-blues classic, "Butcher Pete."

As they prove once again, Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys are masters at reinvigorating the music of an earlier era with style and grace.