Jumping from 6 to 6

by: Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys

While others may suggest that this Western swing/rockabilly outfit's second Hightone release, Swingin' West, is a more definitive representation of the band's potential and brilliance, it is more likely that those who have watched Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys' development will stand by this debut project as the group's defining work. Much in the same way that Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. gave Dwight Yoakam his calling card, Jumping from 6 to 6 gives Big Sandy and the band their identity in the minds of listeners. On this outstanding freshman effort with energy to spare, Big Sandy's voice is phenomenal. The band is tight, especially the teamwork displayed by steel man Lee Jeffriess and lead picker Ashley Kingman. As always, the King of California, Dave Alvin, is an impeccable producer who knows how to get the very best from each artist. The additions of guests Brantley Kearns on fiddle and Bobby Mizzell's rockin' piano on "Juiced" make for a well-layered musical experience that is multidimensional. Their treatment of Hank Sr.'s "Weary Blues from Waitin'" is inspired, as is "Honky Tonk Queen," an E.G. Thornton tune. Jeffriess lends his skills as a songwriter with outstanding cuts like "Hi-Billy Music" and "This Ain't a Good Time." The significance of this debut was not lost on the many bands that followed in the wake of Sandy's success. A landmark recording that opened the floodgates for others seeking to bring Western swing back to prominence, Jumping from 6 to 6 marked the birth a new era in country & western music. ~ Jana Pendragon

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