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QUICK SPINS: May 2011

The Sweetback Sisters, Harry Manx & Kevin Breit

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* The Sweetback SistersLooking for a Fight (Signature Sounds)

Featuring four men and two women, The Sweetback Sisters play clean, pure, classic country music that at its best sounds like something you would have heard years ago on the Grand Ole Opry. Looking for a Fight (out now), the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based band’s second album, features a fine blend of solid originals (most notably the title track and “Thank You”) and interesting covers (including renditions of the Patsy Cline-associated “Love Me, Honey, Do,” Dwight Yoakam’s “It Won’t Hurt When I Fall Down From This Barstool” and The Traveling Wilburys’ “Rattled”).
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* Harry Manx & Kevin BreitStrictly Whatever (Stony Plain Records)

Like Ry Cooder, Harry Manx is a guitar player’s guitar player, known for his chops, wide musical vocabulary and restraint. Kevin Breit ain’t no slouch, either, and he and Manx (who both sing as well) continue their fruitful partnership with Strictly Whatever (out now). It’s their third album together, and they put their arsenal of guitars and other stringed instruments to good use. Highlights include the bluesy “Looking for a Brand New World,” the lively and quirky instrumental “Hippy Trippy” and a subdued, singer/songwriter-styled cover of Bobby Hebb’s “Sunny.”

— By Chris M. Junior