Whether you’re at a crawfish boil, cruising for burgers, swing-dancing the night away or with your best girl in the back seat of your convertible, Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys is the soundtrack—a direct link to the country, blues and R&B infused music of rock ’n’ roll’s golden age.
Recorded in Hollywood at Joey’s Place, former location of Electro Vox Studio, It’s Time! is the 11th album from this quintet of Rockabilly Hall of Famers and it’s just what you’d expect from Big Sandy. Groundbreaking? No, but it’s a whole helluva lot of fun and it displays the band’s excellent vocabulary of traditional American music forms such as country, Cajun, western swing, jump blues and, of course, rockabilly. If Buddy Holly made a record at Sun in the mid-1950s with Hank William’s band and Duane Eddy and Chet Atkins sitting in on guitar, then sent it to the present day to be engineered—this might be what it would sound like.
The production could be a bit more raw, but it’s nice to hear Big Sandy’s vocals loud and clear in the mix—kind of like an old Marty Robbins record. But like with Robbins, sometimes the vocals can drown out the other sounds, taking a little edge off the potential impact and masking the subtleties of the music. Regardless, It’s Time! seems to work on several levels.
With lines like “When I see you on the street / You look at me like dirt / When we’re all alone you’re sweet / And I forget the Hurt,” the album’s lyrics aren’t exactly deep, but this fits quite nicely. This is an album to dance to, not one to listen to while contemplating some higher truth—though It’s Time! does touch on some timeless subject matter. LOVE. Joyous love, enduring love, sinful love, love gone wrong, love lost to another, love you hate to admit you feel, lack of love and finally, love that drives you to drink yourself into a stupor.
The album’s final track, “The Night is for Dreamers,” might best get at what Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys are all about—“Sue found his conversation / Less than intellectual / And so they danced / To that old familiar song / And the wedding band played on.” This is good time music for the situations in life when overanalyzing will kill the magic of the moment.