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   Swill & the Swaggerband: The Day After

A while back, Philip "Swill" Odgers of the Men They Couldn't Hang decided that he wanted to produce an album that was under his control from start to finish. The Day After is the result. Using lyrics provided by fellow TMTCH member Paul Simmonds (for the majority -- but not all -- of the songs) and acoustic instruments, Swill and his guest musicians (the Swaggerband) recorded these 13 tracks. The Swaggerband didn't get together to rehearse beforehand, but they stayed in the studio until they got it right.

Of the tunes, I think my favorite would have to be the title track, "The Day After," a cheery, bouncy little ditty about how even though it's the day after the end of the world, the singer is in love, so everything's great.

"In the Jailhouse Now" stands out because of the ukulele accompaniment (played by Jamie Mathews) and the yodeling chorus, which gives the tune an old-time country air, as though it wouldn't have been out of place to be performed on Hee-Haw. The infectious beat of the one instrumental piece, "The Hanwell Shuffle," makes for a fingers-tapping-on-keyboard, chair-dancing good tune.

There is a certain sameness to each track; the tunes are quite melodic -- some are melodic and cheery, some melodic and sad. Except for the plinking ukulele of "In the Jailhouse Now," Swill's singing is accompanied by rolling guitar with occasional violin and harmonica ornamentation. The tempo of each song varies little from each other song. This produces a consistency from track to track, so that nothing here sounds out of place or causes the listener to sit up in alarm, wondering, "What the heck were they thinking with this?"

It would have been nice to have the lyrics for each song included in the liner notes; I'm not necessarily a genius when it comes to picking out lyrics, and even with repeated listening I missed a great deal of "The Story" and "Lost in the Flood."

There are few CDs that make my workday rotation; The Day After will be one of them.

- Rambles
written by Laurie Thayer
published 22 January 2005

Source:, 22-Jan-2005