I have two words to sum up the newest record from Big Sandy:
Ricky Nelson. Every song on It's Time could have
just as easily been written, recorded and broadcast on the AM
radio in the 1950's, or been a hit 45 on a local burger joint's
and possibly even been performed on the Ozzie
And Harriet Show. The only real things missing are the youthful
innocence and swept up hairdo of Rick Nelson, and the groundbreaking
rockabilly guitar of James Burton. Which by no means suggests
a lack of excellent guitar work (brought to you by the amazing
Ashley Kingman) on It's Time, but rather, simply
that Burton was breaking the ground for all future guitar players,
in both rock'n'roll and country. Of course, Big Sandy goes one
step past Ricky Nelson in adding the magnificent steel playing
of Jimmy Roy to his songs
turning that corner from
rock to country a bit more than Ricky did.
The album kicks off in true rockabilly style with "Chalk
It Up To The Blues" with some killer guitar riffs and slapback
echoes. Perhaps it's this songs similarity to Nelson's "Come
On, Everybody" that puts me in the mindset to hear his influence
on this entire record, but I'm fairly certain that about 95% of
these songs sound like little Ricky's did so many years ago. "Her
Hair Is A Mess" is chock full of silly fifties style lyrics
about an accident prone girl and her effect on the writer, and
some very nice guitar work. Album title cut "It's Time"
jumps right out of the jukebox era with some awesome jazz swing
guitar licks and grooving rockabilly beats. I can see the poodle
skirts and slicked back hair if I simply close my eyes. "Catalina"
recalls those classic early 60's beach movies and the surf music
that drove them into the hearts and minds of America's youth.
Boingy guitars, stuttered arpeggios, and silky hi-hat work all
adds up to an excellent little surf song. Pulling a bit more of
the country out on "Love Debut", Big Sandy easily proves
his finesse and grace in the game of rock'n'roll. The one song
that doesn't immediately recall Ricky Nelson to me is "The
Night Is For Dreamers", and it is pure young Elvis Presley
moody vibe. And going from Ricky Nelson to the king is certainly
not a bad thing.
It amazes me that over the past fifty years of recording history,
we have made such huge leaps and bounds in technology
yet, the best records being made are being made on equipment that
goes right back to the basics. So long technology, make mine 50's
rock! The two and a half minute songs never get boring, the guitar
work is clean and pure rockabilly, the drumming is perfectly complimentary
to the songs, and I can understand every single lyric without
a problem. That's just good rock'n'roll.
1. Chalk It Up To The Blues
2. Bayou Blue
3. How Did You Love Someone Like Me?
4. Her Hair Is A Mess
5. It's Time!
6. Wishing Him Away
7. I Hate Loving You
9. (You Mean) Too Much To Me
10. The Money Tree
11. Love Debut
12. Strollin' With Mary Jane
13. Heaven Is The Other Way
14. The Night Is For Dreamers
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