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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf


Diggin' Up Bones

Arbors Jazz ARCD 19394



1. Right or Wrong
2. Promised Land
3. Turkey in the Raw
4. Ain't Oklahoma Pretty
5. Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
6. Jingle, Jangle, Jingle
7. Your Cheating Heart
8. Grain of Salt
9. You're From Texas
10. Over Nevada
11. Ghost Riders in the Sky
12. Cowboy Lullaby
13. Tacos, Enchiladas and Beans
14. Diggin' Up Bones
15. Stage Fright
16. Act Naturally
17. Steeling Home

Bucky "Buck" Pizzarelli - Acoustic Gibson rhythm guitar
John "Rusty Pickins" Pizzarelli - Electric guitar, vocals
Tommy "Dusty Spurs" White - Pedal steel guitar
Martin "Marty Mouse" Pizzarelli - Bass
Aaron "Hoss" Weinstein - Violin, mandolin
Danny "Two Drum Sticks and a Side of Grits" Coots - Drums
Rebecca "Becky Lou" Kilgore - Vocals (tracks 1, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13)
"Cowboy" Joe West - Vocals (tracks 2, 8)
Andy "The Velvet Sage" Levas - Vocals (tracks 5, 7, 11, 14, 16)
The West Texas Two (John "Rusty Pickins" Pizzarelli and Jessica "Jesse Janes" Molaskey) - Backing vocals (tracks 11, 12)


Western swing has gone out of fashion, although it was all the rage in the USA in the 1930s and 1940s. It was basically country music with the addition of elements from jazz and the blues. The strong beat made it ideal for dancing.

Now guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli has revived the genre with this CD. In fact Bucky might be said to have such music in his bones, as his father hitch-hiked to Texas in a vain attempt to be a cowboy. He even nicknamed his son "Buckskin", which got shortened to Bucky (and, for this album, Buck).

At any rate, Bucky plays Western swing with devotion, surrounding himself with other musicians capable of reproducing the style. These include Tommy White and Aaron Weinstein, who respectively play the pedal steel guitar and the violin, which are virtually obligatory in any Western swing band.

Everyone enters into the spirit of the music, which is distinguished by its jaunty rhythm and songs that often describe yearning for lost love. Rebecca Kilgore, Andy Levas and Joe West sing them with conviction and the correct western drawl. At one time, Rebecca actually sang with several country-and-western groups, including one called "Becky's Buckaroos". Bucky Pizzarelli sticks to acoustic guitar but his son John adds electric guitar (and a vocal on Ain't Oklahoma Pretty) and Bucky's other son, Martin, keeps the rhythm going with his dependable double bass. There are plenty of jazzy solos, notably from Aaron Weinstein, and the whole thing swings along cheerfully. Aaron switches to the mandolin and forms a trio with two guitars for Karl Kress's instrumental Stage Fright: not, perhaps an example of Western swing but very enjoyable nonetheless.

My reaction to this album is an enthusiastic shout of "Yee-hah!"

Tony Augarde 

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