Speedy West

Swingin' on the Strings: The Speedy West & Jimmy Bryant Collection, Vol. 2

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Speedy West and Jimmy Bryant recorded a wealth of quality material in the 1950s, in enough quantity to dispel any notions of regarding them as a novelty act. Those who want more West/Bryant instrumentals after hearing their Stratosphere Boogie collection (also on Razor & Tie) but don't want to spring for the Bear Family box set will be happy to own this second volume of 1951-1956 tracks. The caliber of these 20 selections is almost uniformly high, whether it's the blazing leads and slightly dissonant accents of "Frettin' Fingers," the faster-than-bejesus run-through of Rodgers & Hart's "Lover" (one of five cuts previously unavailable in the U.S.), the pre-exotica jungle/bird noises created on West's steel for "West of Samoa," or the six-minute "China Boy," on which Bryant disregarded the producer's gestures to "cut." The slow numbers tend to impress less than the flashier workouts, but even on those they can throw in some head-spinning licks, like the steel guitar facsimile of a train whistle that opens "Railroadin'."

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