"Swingin’": Who Done It Better, Chris or Leann?

For this edition of Who Done it Better, we are examining two different remakes of John Anderson’s 1983 classic, “Swingin’.” Chris Young recorded the song for his 2010 Voices EP while Leann Rimes recorded the song for her 2011 covers album, Lady and Gentlemen. How do these completely different versions compare to each other?

“Swingin'” became a number one hit for John Anderson back in 1983 and instantly became a country music classic. Written by Anderson along with Lionel Delmore, the song gives a flirtatious account of how the narrator discovers his infatuation for a young Charlotte Johnson by simply swinging on her front porch swing. The song at first glance seems like country filler but John Anderson’s fantastic vocal delivery keeps it anything but filler.
Many artists have tried to recreate this classic, but the original is something that will be hard to touch, no matter who tries to remake it. It’s for that very reason that I should admit that the versions turned in by Chris Young and Leann Rimes have nothing on the original, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t great. Below we’ve compared both songs based on three categories: production, vocal performance, and originality. Take a look at what we have to say and then listen to the songs and let us know who you think “done it better.”
Chris Young
Leann Rimes
Chris’ version utilizes a much slower tempo from the original. Rather than enlisting the help of a full backing band, Young delivers an acoustic version of the song leaving behind all the bells and whistles the original consisted of.
Production
Leann’s version kicks the song’s tempo up a couple notches which gives it more life and personality. The horns are also replaced in this version with killer guitar lines delivered by Vince Gill.
Chris is one of country’s latest troubadours. He usually leaves behind any vocal tricks in order to deliver a simple, consistent vocal. Here, he simply sticks to the original’s vocal styling by delivering the song in a consistent tone. The problem here is that the song needs personality from its singer.
Vocal Performance
Leann delivers one of the best vocal performances of her career on this song. Not only does she do a great job in articulating each word to keep up with the song’s tempo, but she also gives the song new life by delivering a cheeky, sassy, and bubbly vocal performance to match the song’s flirtatious spirit.
I’m a big fan of acoustic covers so the fact that this is such a simple version of the song makes me like it and appreciate it. Although I can’t say Chris did enough with it to make it original in any way.
Originality
Leann does a fantastic job converting this song about “Charlotte Johnson” into one about “Charlie Johnson.” It takes a lot for a female to cover a classic delivered by a male artist, and Leann succeeds brilliantly.
Final Verdict
Both version are fantastic in their own right, but overall Leann’s version has the slight edge mainly because it’s more fun to listen to and brings the flirty ditty to life.
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Chris Young version:

Leann Rimes version:

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