It has been said, The Blues had a baby and named it Rock and Roll, and that is exactly what Tim Casey and the Bluecats offer up on their third release, Swing Shift.
Hailing from Los Angeles, Tim Casey and the Bluecats relocated to Seattle in 1997 and were a welcome addition to the thriving Northwest blues scene. Collecting 3 nominations from the Washington Blues Society (Best New Band in 1998 and Best Band in 1999 and 2001) have earned them respect from fellow musicians and helped them to acquire a loyal base of fans.
The current resurgence of the big band, swing/rock sound with such groups as The Brian Setzer Orchestra and the Cherry Poppin' Daddies, has become a favorite of many blues fans as well as first time listeners. Swing Shift delivers jump and swing, Texas and Chicago style shuffles and good old-fashioned rock and roll.
The horn section (tenor, baritone and trumpet), with tight arrangements and impressive solo's, is a key ingredient in this seven-piece band. This becomes apparent from the 1st track, Rockin'. The title of this song sums it up. Opening with an unyielding display of solidarity from the three horns, this song cooks from beginning to end.
Elements of rockabilly, blues and New Orleans style jazz combine for the track Bluescat Boogie and unleash riveting solos from Tim Casey on guitar, Chris Kliemann on Hammond and Jeremy Smith on sax.
The cut Everything brings it down a couple notches. Opening with a haunting tenor combined with atmospheric chimes and delicate guitar work, this song is cerebral before it jumps into a full-scale shuffle at the chorus.
Tim Casey and the Bluecats swing throughout this recording in a way that makes it obvious they both enjoy and understand the music.
This review is copyright © 2001 by Tony Engelhart, and Blues On Stage at: www.mnblues.com, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.