THE LUCKY STRIKES - Song and Dance (SOB005 - 1998)

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With their first disc, Twelve Past Midnight, The Lucky Strikes pointed their instruments and twelve original tracks at the heart of the swing scene, literally. It was a romantic set of retro-contemporary torch songs and swooner tunes embellished by rich horns. This time they're back with fourteen pieces of new material and a lot more to swing about.

Both their lyrics and their music have become more reflective of events on the dance floor with subjects like "Swing Let's Swing." But even in those cases, colorful lyrics are often present, the reason being that lyricist and singer Craig Marshall is an undeniable Sinatra fan with the vocal chords to do his hero justice.

The crooner approach defines much of the band, but it's the combination of the sixties swinger with the attitude of a jump blues band that makes The Lucky Strikes unique. Still, this is not an in-your-face swing band. Sure, there are a few songs that let loose, like the double-timed "Til We Meet Again" or the heavier drum beat of "Once Before." But thanks to imaginative arrangements, the energetic horns and rhythm avoid the big hits, leaving the band with a suave and sophisticated sound: the drums are usually stroked with brushes and the horns stuff their charts with smaller, more meaningful notes rather than loud belts of sound.

Song and Dance is packed with quality moments. Each track finds time for a nimble-fingered player to take the spotlight. The melodies and orchestrations are ear catching and a dip into some beautiful string arrangements on the eighth track suggests that these boys have many more fresh ideas and the talent to see them produced. The say that everything is big in Texas. In this case, it's big secret that needs to be let out -- The Lucky Strikes.

-Swing Time Magazine, August, 1999