Radio Favorites

Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys

HMG Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


It's been a busy year for both Big Sandy and his backing band The Fly-Rite Boys, with both sides of the band releasing solo albums (both of which we've reviewed here on "The Daily Vault"). Now, almost as a reassurance to fans of modern rockabilly that the group is still together, they've released Radio Favorites, a six-song EP.

Personally, I wish that Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys had taken a little more time and had released a full album, simply because six songs over less than 20 minutes is barely enough to get your appetite whetted for this kind of music. This is one of the few cases I have ever seen where less does not equal more.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

I can hear the pundits now: "Why are you complaining? You must obviously like the disc!" Well, I do indeed like this album. Even my wife - who likes maybe one percent of the music that I listen to - found herself happily shaking her hips to the opening song "It's A Mystery To Me", proof that rockabilly is a happily infectious style of music. (Brother, after admissions like this one, I'm sometimes glad that the wife doesn't read this site.)

The musicianship on Radio Favorites never lets up over the course of these six songs, from the catchiness of "First And Last Blues" to the groove laid out on "Buddy, I Ain't Buyin'" to the closing raucousness of "Playgirl". The Fly-Rite Boys prove to be the perfect foil to Big Sandy, while Big Sandy shows he's the ultimate vocalist for this band. (No disrespect to the Fly-Rite Boys, who handled vocals on their self-titled solo album well.)

And while I don't often talk about packaging for a CD, the design of the package for Radio Favorites - it folds out to show a full transistor radio, complete with turnable dial - is a refreshing change of pace in the CD world. Even the ads on the inside almost make you want to send off a check or two.

But Radio Favorites leaves the listener begging for more, since six songs just aren't enough to really build up a good head of steam. All this does is leave the listener a little disappointed that there isn't more music on this disc. I truly believe that had the band taken the time to make this into a full album, it would still have been incredible.

Radio Favorites is no doubt a stop-gap measure until the next full-length release from Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys comes out. While this disc is entertaining enough, it isn't enough to feed my appetite for their music.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 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 HMG Records, and is used for informational purposes only.