Wayne Hancock

Swing Time

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As anyone who has heard him knows, Wayne Hancock is a honky tonk man, and what a honky tonk man does best is make with some tunes suitable for both dancing and beer drinking at an unpretentious nightspot along the highway. So the idea of a Wayne Hancock live album would seem like a no-brainer, and this set, recorded during a two-night stand at Austin's Continental Club in the spring of 2003, effortlessly captures his firecracker enthusiasm and the sharp picking of his band in full flight in front of an audibly enthusiastic crowd. Of course, all of Hancock's previous records have been produced by Lloyd Maines, who hasn't exactly cluttered up Hancock's sound with a lot of messy overdubs, so the performances on Swing Time don't differ dramatically from the studio versions that appeared on his previous albums. The main difference on Swing Time is that Hancock puts a bit more fire behind his vocals and gives his players a little more room to stretch out, with steel guitarist Eddie Rivers and lead pickers Dave Biller and Paul Skelton making the most of their solo spots throughout. One might have hoped for a bit more fresh material in the set list as well, and a one-hour live album seems just a bit skimpy from a guy who can play a three-hour set without batting an eye, but as it stands, Swing Time is a not-bad "best of Wayne Hancock" sampler, and while it's OK for fans, it's also one of the better places for beginners to start digging into Wayne the Train's hard country sound. Sorry, beverages not included!

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