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Ian Siegal Swagger Review

Album. Released 2007.  

BBC Review

Each track indeed bounces and sways with great alacrity.

Daryl Easlea 2007

British blues has not been hugely fashionable of late. Ian Seigal is one of those characters who, in a different time, would have been seen as something of an avatar. This is blues for those who hate the blues. There is nothing worn-smooth in its professionalism here. There could be no complaints, either, under the Trades Description Act with the album's title. Each track indeed bounces and sways with great alacrity.

The balance of originals and covers is just right; Don Covay's "I Don't Know What You Got (But It's Got Me)" and the rollicking, all faders open take on Little Richard's "I Can't Believe You Wanna Leave", both are tremendous fun and were not originally intended for the album. John Lee Hooker's "Groundhog Blues" is handled with élan, too.

That said, it is with the originals the meat of the matter lay: The title track, "Swagger" has the vibrancy and excitement of early Feelgoods. Humour is here, also; the light-hearted misogyny of "Catch 22", with lines such as "the genuine article, unnaturally blonde"; the Memphis soul of "Mortal Coil Shuffle" and the country blues of "Curses" offer standout moments. The playing throughout is exceptionally tight. Route one is often avoided and it blasts like Beefheart as often as Big Bill Broonzy. There are also many moments of restraint with banjo, mandolin and picked acoustic.

Using such a traditional form, it's inevitable that there will be some clichés swilling around, but with all the album's close-mic'ed vocals, raunch, honesty and a soupcon of the Gentleman amateur's passion about it, Swagger is a most endearing release.

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