Steve Markwardt – This Is Swing Country, Yes, “this Is Swing Country,” basically done as Bob Wills would have liked its styling! And I’d bet he would have approved of a Steve Markwardt fronting his Playboys, too. Many of the tracks here are two steps and shuffles of varying tempos.
This album is a very nicely done mix of originals and Country covers. Some picks include the up-tempo collection opener “Jamboree Of Western Swing,” the shuffle “Oklahoma’s Calling Me,” “Long Gone Blues” (done a bit slower than usual), “These Boots” (…are made for walking back to you…), the holiday novelty “Swinging Santa” and “You’ve Been Talking In Your Sleep” (a real rouser)!
As we’ve said of him before, vocally Markwardt has a bit of “Rex Jr.” in him, particularly in his higher registers. Fact check: On Markwardt’s baseball analogy song “Swinging For The Bleachers,” the lead lyric goes “people call me ‘Babe Ruth’ on the dance floor…just like him I’m the ‘King of Swing’!” Actually Ruth was the “Sultan.” Wills was the “King!” But you royally get the idea…
The ‘Willsian’ horns aren’t present on all of the songs. There are budgets to consider, after all! But you shouldn’t miss them. Thirteen tracks, highly recommended.
– by Rick Huff