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A little turntable matinee
Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys make music for record machines, America's roots music, rockabilly and swing and the earliest forms of rhythm and blues, the kind of stuff you used to hear on those old 45s — music you might play on a Sunday afternoon, maybe do some good-time dancing in the living room.
And appropriately, the band, which formed in 1988 during the a peak in California's swing revival, has a love for all things vintage. But this is more than revival living, says band-leader and singer Big Sandy, who brings his Fly-Rite boys to Club Fred tonight.
"It may be hard to believe, but we really don't think about that sort of thing much."
Until it comes up in interviews. But the band has been at this so long, that those things, the cars, the clothes, the gear, have all become second nature, he says. Just like the music, the rock and roll, doo-wop and country tunes he picked up from his parents record collections.
It's what happens when you've been playing this long. The band has spent the majority of their career — at least 3/4 of the last 15 years — on the road and set themselves apart from others in the scene by not aligning themselves with any musical "movements," not limiting their audience.
They just play to plain ol' folks, Sandy says. And they've always played Fresno. They've hit Club Fred before. They've done the Tokyo-Garden thing.
It makes sense, Sandys says. Fresno is not a bad drive from their home in Los Angeles and a great stop on the way to all points north. Plus, there's a certain something about the town. "It always feels like we're somewhere else, somewhere outside California," he says.
This year the band'll be playing less while their guitar player has a baby (that means California shows only). But they'll still be busy. Sandy and bass player Jeff West are already working on a new album, and the big man will soon be touring with Los Straightjackets.
But that's not tonight. Tonight, they're at Club Fred. Tonight, there'll be some dancing for sure, Sandy says. If you'd rather sit and listen and analyze lyrics and chord structure, they'll oblige you on that, too.
"If you like to drink, I'll meet you at the bar."