Candye Kane

Swango

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Candye Kane's sole major-label release, 1998's Swango, isn't one of her best albums. Producer Mike Vernon (who had run the famous U.K. blues-rock label Blue Horizon in the '60s) uses the then-current swing revival to reduce the more authentic jump blues elements of Kane's earlier records. The result is a kind of hipsterrific cocktail-nation cloyingness that makes Kane seem like a novelty act. Kane is singing better than ever, especially on the opening statement of intent, "200 Pounds of Fun," and a terrific version of the standard "Dream a Little Dream of Me," and her songwriting is growing increasingly sharper as well. The title track's a particular gem. (Longtime fans will be disappointed to find, however, that this is by far Kane's least-bawdy record.) So really, the fault comes down to the stiff arrangements and inappropriate production; look past those and Swango is an appealing, entertaining record. It may take a few listens to get to that point, however.

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