Billy Swan

Four

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    5
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After three excellent albums on Monument Records, Billy Swan's Four appeared on the Columbia label and contained the single "Swept Away," which failed to chart. Four moved away from the funky covers of rock & roll oldies heard on Swan's earlier albums to concentrate on original songs that dealt, in his usual fashion, with everyday concerns and relationship issues. Swan always comes across as a likable guy doing his best, and his songs often depict men with a puppy dog devotion to their women, or sensitive wounded men trying to set things right. "Playing the Game of Love" is an excellent original that would have made a better candidate for single release, and "Me and My Honey" takes Swan's fascination with the mundane to a new level with its descriptions of grocery shopping and concrete blocks. A cover of the Corsairs' early-'60s hit "Smoky Places" probably breezed past most country fans. The most unusual song by a mile is "Oliver Swan," a bizarre in-joke Swan co-wrote with J. Oliver about a character named Oliver Swan (get it?) who is abducted by aliens and fathers half-alien babies. Four isn't on par with Swan's Monument albums and lacks an obvious hit single, but has a few above-average cuts.

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