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Big Sandy

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Since forming in 1988, Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys have emerged as one of the world’s most respected practitioners of American roots music—western swing, rockabilly, and traditional country—playing it like they invented it. “I think of us as just a rock and roll band—a rock and roll band that’s letting the roots show,” says bandleader Big Sandy. Whether they’re playing the Grand Ole Opry, Late Night With Conan O’Brien, or simply climbing out of a bus after rolling into your town, these guys are bringing us some great old-time rock and roll.

The first lyric on their newest Yep Roc Records release, Turntable Matinee, commands us to “Drop the needle in the groove and start to move!” That opening track—”The Power of the 45, Part 1”—is a dance call to arms as well as a love song to the group’s musical influences. Big Sandy sings a rapid roll call of diverse musical heroes: Junior Parker, Ronnie Dawson, Little Esther, Chuck Berry, Glen Glenn, Etta James, Johnny “Guitar” Watson. The list goes on, showing the respect the group has for the music they both listen to and create. “I think with this album we’ve gotten to the point where we fully and more accurately represent the full spectrum of what we were listening to when all of us were growing up,” Big Sandy says. “I mean, when I was growing up in Southern California, a lot of the old R&B guys were still playing. The first show my parents took me to was Ray Charles. I used to go see Richard Berry, and Cliffie Stone still did a weekly talent show at the Palomino.”

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