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SWILL AND THE SWAGGERBAND – Welcome to Wonderland

SWILL AND THE SWAGGERBAND - Welcome to WonderlandThis collection presents a selection of 14 tracks taken from the Swill & the Swaggerband EP’s and albums recorded between 2004 and 2006. The recording style is no frills and energetic and is made up of live performances in the recording studio. Only acoustic instruments are used and this produces a distinctive hybrid of Americana, UK folk and Celtic rhythm. There are flashes of US country, punk energy and Eddie Cochran on this album, all blending in nicely to create Phil Odgers’ singularly unique sound and resonant vocal style. The result is a relaxed yet tight album where the musician’s enjoyment is both obvious and infectious.

‘Birth of the Bop’ open’s things up with a soft acoustic intro before exploding into a wonderful foot tapping number which sets the tone perfectly. Unlike some tracks on the album this one would fit perfectly on any TMTCH release and fans of the band will make an instant comparison. Furthermore, ‘Drag You Down’ and ‘Ready to Blow’ fit into the same category. However, this is not TMTCH and the whole album offers much more of a jamming session party feel where musicians have gathered together and just had a bloody good time playing.

It’s that vibrant, buoyant awareness throughout (although remaining poignant at all the right times – the excellent ‘Missing’ being a classic case in point) that just lifts both your mood and spirits at the same time.

The diversity between the tracks is ideal from upbeat tempo to slower, more melodic numbers. We’re treated to a solo by Swill with ‘Marjory and Johnny’ whilst both ‘Lusty Glaze’ and ‘Hanwell Shuffle’ are musicals that would not be out of place in any Irish bar on a Saturday evening.

The old English folk song ‘Sam Hall’ dates back to the mid-19th century and is a song about an unrepentant criminal condemned to death. Performed by many over the years including The Mahones, The Dubliners and Johnny Cash, it is perfect for the band and Swill’s voice.

The Swaggerband consists of some past and present members of The Men They Couldn’t Hang along with a couple of ring-ins. Bassist Ricky McGuire is there on several songs, his thumping acoustic bass adding much to the overall sound. Tom Spencer adds his trademark Rockabilly/Folk/Punk guitar and banjo. A few tracks receive a further kick in the pants from former TMTCH drummer Jon Odgers (Swill’s brother), adding snare, bongos and shaker. Bobby Valentino is here on fiddle and mandolin. A few extra guests add flourishes of ukulele, harmonica and there’s even some yodelling! TMTCH’s Paul Simmonds doesn’t play on the album, but he wrote lyrics for six of the fourteen tracks. All in all this is an inspirational CD, wonderful compositions with a no-nonsense delivery.


Gaz – Punk Online


Track Listing

  1. Birth of the Bop
  2. The Drinkers
  3. Missing
  4. Elvis Lives Here
  5. Lusty Glaze
  6. The Story
  7. Drag You Down
  8. Sam Hall
  9. Ordinary Girls
  10. World of Discontent
  11. Ready to Blow
  12. In The Jailhouse Now
  13. Marjory and Johnny
  14. Hanwell Shuffle