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Music Review - `Fantastico` by Mitch Webb and the Swindles (HC)

Artie Tobia -- Driven    (click on image to watch video)

 27 February 2020



There’s not a better way to open this album than with a dancing, scampering Flamenco-inflected instrumental, complete with Dick Dale-like guitar riffs and lead phrases of the album’s title track. The skittering accordion meets the stately and tasty guitar runs as Riders in the Sky meets Los Texmaniacs. The robust opening track offers promise us that Webb and the Swindles will carry us on an energetic musical journey on this album, and they live up to that promise.


“Hold Me Down” rambles somewhere between the Pure Prairie League of Two-Lane Highway and Poco. It’s a joyous number that features pedal steel chasing violin and guitar in ever-widening streams as the song about coming home circles higher and higher, dancing off the grooves. A rockabilly stomper, “Jail in San Antone,” rumbles off the charts in an infectious blend of growling vocals, shimmering guitars, walking bass lines, and propulsive drumming. The sonic phrasing recalls Chuck Berry’s “Back in the USA,” and the lead guitars on the bridges dust off the frets with their canny speed and accuracy. “New Bordertown” features Augie Meyers of Texas Tornados on Farfisa and Josh Baca of Los Texmaniacs on a song that pays tribute to Sir Douglas Quintet and that shades off into the Souther, Hillman, Furay Band’s “Border Town.” The shuffling country weeper “Driftwood 4023” floats along in soaring steel guitar; it might be the most yearningly beautiful song about the promise of a night of anonymous sex secured through a phone number from a bathroom wall of a truck stop. The raucous rocker “Can’t Stop” closes the album with the same promise as the title track: the music on Fantastico grabs you and won’t let you go.

Mitch Webb the Swindles (Joe Reyes, Dave Wasson, Odie Wayne Cole, Chris Dodds) invite some special guests such as Baca and Meyers, among others, along for this ride. As the refrain from “Can’t Stop” has it—“can’t stop/gotta rock—which is exactly what this album has us doing, and it urges us to play it over and over.


 Henry L. Carrigan, Jr.


Henry L. Carrigan, Jr.





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