THE SWING SERIES
The swing idea came from a conversation Ray Pennington and I had regarding my recording an instrumental album for Step One records. I told Ray I was up to my ears in steel guitar albums and the album would stand a better chance of him recouping the investment if he put some vocals on it.
The topic turned to swing music and Ray mentioned a nine-piece band he had in Cincinnati in the 50s and how much fun it was for him. Then he suggested a swing album as a possibility. I liked the idea so we came up with a few Bob Wills titles and agreed to go that route. Ray said, "We'll record an album and throw it out there and see what happens. If they like it, we'll do another and if not, we'll have had fun trying." Our first album was called Swingin' 40s thru the 80s, and somebody out there liked it because we swung for the next ten years.
In The Mood For Swingin' is probably my least favorite album of the series but Moonlight Serenade is my favorite on the album because of the string section playing the horn parts. Another highlight was a note sent to me from the co-author of Tuxedo Junction. It was written on the cover of the sheet music and read:
Another factor that distinguishes the In The Mood album from the others is the brass section being in the studio at the time we recorded. The decibel rate was high and my concentration was low, so my clinkers had a few of the brass players going back and overdubbing parts again.
For the most part, the albums were a lot of fun for everybody involved. It offered them a departure from the Nashville lick-of-the-month format and gave us a chance to expand our playing and arranging capabilities.
As for the heart of the Swing Shift band, musicians, Gregg Galbraith, David Smith, Bobby All, Rob Hajacos, and Jerry Kroon, my appreciation for their contribution is beyond words. I picked them for their love of swing music and their ability to express it, and they never let me down.