Big Swing Face

It’s fair to say that this record caused the biggest stir amongst fans. Opinion was greatly divided, such was the departure from anything Bruce had ever put out before. Take a look at what you were saying about it in 2002! Some while after it’s release, then, it’s time to revisit this record. Here are some of the details first:

Big Swing Face

Big Swing Face

Release: June 25 2002

  1. “Sticks & Stones”
  2. “Cartoons & Candy”
  3. “The Chill”
  4. “Big Swing Face”
  5. “This Too Shall Pass”
  6. “Try Anything Once”
  7. “Take Out the Trash”
  8. “The Good Life”
  9. “So Out”
  10. “No Home Training”
  11. “Place Under the Sun”


The record’s title comes from a relatively obscure 1963 album by legendary drummer Buddy Rich. It seems, however, that the inspiration might not have come from Rich’s’ great skill as a musician but rather the infamous “Buddy Rich Tapes” on which Rich is caught on tape ripping his band up one side and down the other after a less than stellar performance. These tapes are legendary amongst musicians. (Thanks to Nick Lung for that).


Keyboard Magazine: A Bruce Hornsby CD with no piano on it? Next, fish will wear trousers. Not to worry, though: Hornsby’s songwriting (social conscience, fresh changes, moving hooks) is as incisive as ever, and even without acoustic piano, Big Swing Face serves up plenty of top-notch keyboard playing. Electric piano and organ are woven through the fabric of the mixes, along with some percolating filter work on synths and even a few drums that sound like loops. Hornsby has always been willing to take chances; jettisoning his primary instrument (temporarily, I hope) is not a sign of confusion but a way of exploring some of the other colors in the paintbox. When he stretches out with a distorted, ballsy EP solo in “Cartoons & Candy”, it’s a prelude to a vocal break that veers straight over into Prince territory. But whether he’s laying down an R&B groove or playing with New Orleans funk, as in the second-line groove of the title track, it’s all pure Hornsby.

 Your review

Now it’s your turn to have your say! Here’s what they sound like:

This is your chance to be a music critic and give a “star rating” to each of the tracks, before we compare how every songs ranks, across all releases since 1986.

There’s a 10 second clip of each song in our giant audio player above. If you’re inclined to rate any track a perfect 10, please restrict that to one choice only, if you would! Also feel free to leave your comments below if you like.

As well as the tracks, we’re asking you to score the following:

Shelf-life life/longevity – how well does it/will it stand up years later?

Lyrics – all the sentences

Artwork/liner notes – what came with the record

Musicality – musical creativity, spontaneity, connection – what makes it all work

Production – how good it sounds

Personnel/collaborations – who did what


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