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The Western Flyers - Wild Blue Yonder (Versa Tone Records)

Almost forty-two years have passed since the great Bob Wills shuffled off this mortal coil, but his departure didn't, in fact, signal the end of western swing, the genre of music of which Mr Wills was the undisputed king. In fact, the heart of that toe-tapping, soul-cleansing style still beats healthily through the music of such revivalists as the Hot Club of Cowtown, Lyle Lovett, The Quebe Sisters Band and The Western Flyers, a trio whose meticulous rhythms and driving old-time strut have been lovingly preserved on WILD BLUE YONDER.

This constantly zestful collection of thirteen swinging tracks was recorded using early Neumann, Telefunken and RCA ribbon microphones along with period tube pre-amps to give the whole thing a truly authentic, old-time feel. Joey McKenzie's chugging guitar sounds eighty-years old, and all the better for it, whilst Katie Glassman's fiddle and Gavin Kelso's upright bass flit and weave between the speakers like a pair of Texas Coral Snakes.

The repertoire is authentic, too, with such well-known numbers as I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter, Sweet Georgia Brown and Tennessee Waltz receiving the Western Flyer treatment. And whilst the slick musicianship shines on this richly entertaining collection of songs from the thirties and forties, it is perhaps Katie Glassman's voice that makes WILD BLUE YONDER protrude from the shelf. Her sweet yet weathered vocal on Never No More is nothing short of a treat, as is Joey McKenzie's on I'll See You In My Dreams which concludes the album in style.

Liam Wilkinson
Northern Sky