Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys


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With the possible exception of Ronnie Dawson, there isn't a better rockabilly act on the planet than Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys. Revivalists though they are, their contagious love of the music, their skill with its subtleties, and the persuasive croon of Big Sandy (aka Robert Williams) himself render moot any arguments about authenticity or originality. Last year they stretched out somewhat separately on a pair of terrific albums that incorporated other classic musical styles from the first half of this century: On Dedicated to You (Hightone) Big Sandy explores 50s R & B with a set of rousing doo-wop gems first recorded by LA groups like the Penguins, the Meadowlarks, and Don & Dewey. He rips through classics like "Pretty Girls Everywhere," "Hey Se–orita," and "Heaven and Paradise" with an infectious glee, not quite scaling some of the vocal heights of the originals, but more than acquitting himself nevertheless. His crack band gets to strut its stuff as well on Big Sandy Presents the Fly-Rite Boys (Hightone), a mostly instrumental collection of hopped-up western swing and hillbilly boogie with guitarist Ashley Kingman playing Jimmy Bryant to steel guitarist Lee Jeffriess's Speedy West. The man and his band are back together on the brand-new EP Radio Favorites (HMG), on whose six stellar originals the band further consolidates its wealth of influences. The Iguanas headline. Saturday, 10 PM, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn; 312-527-2583 or 312-923-2000. PETER MARGASAK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by David Harrison.

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