RHYTHMS MAGAZINE CD REVIEW Longtime blues devotee Andrew Swann's impressive CV boasts extensive experience playing with household names at home and abroad from the realms of blues, iazz; rock and pop. Over many years touring worldwide, Swann's broad versatility as a drummer has been well established. A onetime music student at the Victorian College of the Arts, Swann is also a composer who plays piano, guitar and harmonica. Southside Blues, as well as demonstrating his proficiency on the latter two instruments, exhibits Swann's competent vocal abilities across a range of traditional blues and gospel selections. With a voice resembling that of Randy Newman, he performs three original tunes and ten others in a country blues format aided sparsely by piano, bass, drums and percussion backing. A raw, no-frills project, this three-quarter hour recording made at Preston Studios in Melbourne avoids overdubs and technical embellishments retaining an authentic air consistent with it's vintage material. Three songs - the lazy 'Automobile' and 'Katie May' and the upbeat 'Fan lt'- are sourced from Lightnin' Hopkins, obviously a major inspiration. Among others derived from Jimmy McCracklin, JimmyWitherspoon and Blind Willie Johnson sit uncluttered takes on Bob Dylan 'lt Takes a Lot To Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry' and Willie Dixon's 'Wang Dang Doodle'. Inserting occasional lead fills, Swann plays a steady acoustic rhythm guitar largely devoid of fundamental riff-based structures. His electric guitar - in distortion mode adding grit to 'Move Me' and in a smooth-toned setting for 'Bleedin' Heart'- evokes a sound reminiscent of Sam Phillips' early '5os Sun Studio waxings. Swann plans a second Southside Blues instalment where he will explore the domain of city blues. Based on this exercise, it too should be a CD worth a listen. Al Hensley - Rhythms magazine, Sept 2004.
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