Sunday, April 18, 2010

Best Thing I Heard Today: John Anderson doing "Swingin'"

According to Rick Jackson and his nefarious "Country Hall of Fame," "Swingin'" is Anderson's signature song:

It doesn't really swing, though--lopes, struts, bounces, gallivants, rollicks, but there's no denying the fact that it's played straight and not swung. (Not that I'm complaining.) Likewise, Anderson plays his amusing story completely straight, seemingly oblivious to all the double- and triple-entendres he's pulling out of one innocent word. In that respect, Anderson's one-of-a-kind voice works to his advantage--it's so open and unusual, it allows him to play the part of The Wide-Eyed Rube while making jokes and social observations that are spot-on. (Rick Jackson and I also love Anderson's "Black Sheep." Describing his rich sister and her banker husband, Anderson sings, "They like to get together and talk about all the things they got." How perfect is that? And how many people like that do you know?)

Anyway, here's jazz critic Gary Giddins's mysterious definition of "swing": "a graceful way of advancing time that suggests ironic distance from time itself." I'm not sure how that applies to John Anderson--who is both graceful and ironic--but it's worth mulling over for the rest of the day. (For me. You don't have to mull.)

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