Some things never die, they simply go away for a time and then resurface years later, sometimes into the mainstream, and sometimes they never make it to the surface but do manage to intrigue enough people to keep the flame burning. Swing music is a genre that was born years ago and then had a mild resurfacing in the late nineties, (Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, Royal Crown Revue, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Brian Setzer, Squirrel Nut Zippers et al) and today can still be heard from time to time, likely at various bars and clubs around any city that can draw nightlife.
When Mitch Capone was eighteen years old he discovered and soon became enthralled by the sound of big band swing music. A native of Newcastle Australia, Capone soon began making guest appearances around town with a group called Dungeon Big Band with whom he performed the classic songs of Frank Sinatra and other Ratpack era singers. From there Capone auditioned for a role in a local production of “Shout-The Musical” and was awarded the role of Cole Joy. This role introduced Capone to the upbeat sounds of 50s era Rock n Roll. This role led to further acting gigs, including the role of Elvis Young in a touring production of The Early Years of Elvis Presley.
I mention the information above for the listener who would come to hear Mitch Capone’s debut album Bad Blood without at least knowing where the genesis of Capone’s love of big band swing and rockabilly music came from. Capone has even crafted a new genre for himself, personally referring to his musical style as Swingbilly. I would argue that Bad Blood is more in the vein of straight swing to the fact that the album doesn’t really get too psycho.
Bad Blood opens with “Bad Blood” which is a good introduction into how the remainder of the record is going to play out. Capone does his best Elvis impression though keeps it an octave or two higher than the King most of the time except on “Fax from Elvis” where the vocals creep a little lower.
The remainder of Bad Blood is pretty much what one might expect. There is a wild and squealing horn section on just about every song, the tones are up-tempo and the guitars for the most part range from bluesy up-tempo rock to jangly pop rhythms.
Genre records are a hard sell to the mass market, which will often see them as what they are, a fad. Though what keeps genre’s alive are people like Mitch Capone, who find ways to keep fads fresh. He does so by mixing up pace and feel of his songs with classic swing tunes such as “Not the Girl Next Door” and “Great Big Swinging Thing” as well as the steely guitar twang on the albums smooth sounding closer, “Life’s Highway.” At the end of the day Bad Blood is a solid record and great listen for anyone looking to put a little swing back into their life.
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