Russell Simins – Tracks From The Van #37

Billy Swan – Don’t Be Cruel

“Super cool hauntingly funky swamped out version of ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ by songwriter producer sideman Billy Swan. Swan started out writing songs for the great Bill Black, worked for a time at Graceland, eventually produced Tony Joe White records including single Pork Salad Annie and wrote hits for the likes of Waylon and Conway Twitty all before eventually writing his huge rockabilly inspired hit “I Can Help” for which he’s most well known.

The track’s highlighted by an almost Suicide like sounding opening of Swan’s ghostly echoey vcl and a soul stirring droning organ, a cool lazy funky drum beat throughout care of Nashville session regular Hayward Bishop, and some way out guitars( check em out leading into the 2nd verse) featuring legendary Nashville players Reggie young and Bobby Emmons. That organ, the same one prominently featured on hit “I Can Help,” is an RMI Farfisa type that fellow charter member of the Nashville underground, Kris Kristofferson, bought for Swan (both were assistants together at Nashville’s Columbia Music Row Studio when Bob Dylan was recording Blonde on Blonde there).

Add to it all the way out video for the song you see here and you got one crazy cool track.”



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