Night Tide

by: Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys

On this, their fourth full-length album, Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys continue to ply their unique brand of small-group rockabilly and western swing, and the combination of Sandy's sweet, rich baritone voice and his band's effortless and pitch-perfect vintage virtuosity continues to be a joy. But this time out there's a distinct lack of party anthems: no cute wordplay, no steel-guitar wolf whistles, no ebullient loverman lyrics. Instead, you have song titles like "In the Steel of the Night" and "Nothing to Lose" and couplets like "I wish I knew what to do/When sleep won't come" and "Heaven help a man like me who walks alone." Perhaps the strangest and most disconcerting song on this album is the almost creepily bouncy "Tequila Calling" on which the singer hears alcohol beckoning him into oblivion. Sandy is singing better than ever, and his band, even in this more subdued vein, is still the best thing on the retro-rock circuit; there's no questioning the musical and emotional power of this album. But Night Tide is a strikingly apt title; it sounds like it was recorded by a man who feels himself being pulled out to sea by dark forces. ~ Rick Anderson

Please enable Javascript to view this page competely.