Night Tide

Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys

Hightone Records, 2000

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


I believe in past reviews I've labeled Big Sandy And His Fly-Rite Boys to be rockabilly. If I did, then either I was totally mistaken or I was not aware of the flexibility of this band.

Their latest full-length release, Night Tide, tends to move away from the rockabilly and focuses in on more of a cross between early rock and swing music. It's an intriguing blend, though not an unpleasant one, and it becomes yet another enjoyable disc in the catalog of this band.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

If you've never experienced the band before, then leave all your preconceptions at the door, and allow this quintet to catapult you into a musical scene that has one foot in the past and another foot firmly planted in the here-and-now. Songs like "Tequila Calling," "A Man Like Me" and the title track show that they owe more than a small debt to the music of the past, yet the group constantly makes music that refuses to sound dated in any way. When you're playing with rock's roots, sometimes this is a difficult task, but Big Sandy And His Fly-Rite Boys make it sound effortless.

The highlight for me, ironically, is the instrumental "In The Steel Of The Night," a song which brings back memories of Santo And Johnny's "Sleepwalk". Lee Jeffriess's steel guitar work absolutely captures the essence of this song to the nines, and it becomes a high-water mark for the entire album.

Oh, don't think that the rest of Night Tide fails to tread water. Tracks like "My Time Will Come Someday," "Let Her Know," "Hey Lowdown!" and "South Bay Stomp" all prove that this group knows how to kick things into overdrive and remind people that music can be pure fun. Admittedly, this style of music takes a little while to get used to, but after one listen to this disc, it should fit as comfortably on your stereo system as an old pair of slippers on your feet.

Ironically, it is the band's strength that could turn out to be the weakness in Night Tide. Not many people may be willing to take a chance on rockabilly-swing, at least not in this Limp-Eminem-Britney world of music we live in. If Night Tide has any real audience, it would be the Baby Boomers and anyone who listens to music for the sheer love of it. And, frankly, that's not the worst audience a band like Big Sandy And His Fly-Rite Boys could have.

Night Tide is an engaging yet soothing disc that deserves a fighting chance in your collection. Slap it on and discover why roots rock never sounded so fresh.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Hightone Records, and is used for informational purposes only.