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SMOKIN' JOE KUBEK & BNOIS KING

HAVE BLUES, WILL TRAVEL

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Alligator (ALCD4937)

Have Blues Will Travel, Got You Out Of My Blood, Out Of Body Out Of Mind, RU4 Real? Payday In America, Shadows In The Dark, My Space Or Yours, Sleeping With One Eye Open, My Guitar, One Step At A Time, Wishful Thinking, What A Sight To See.

Kubek and King have brought genuine house-rockin' music back to Alligator with this powerful set of road-tested, high-tensioned blues. It's their fifteenth album and Joe, Bnois and the band consider it to be the best record they've made. Kubek says "we challenged ourselves, went into new territory both musically and lyrically and came out the other end with something we're extremely proud of". Bnois adds "I've been listening to this album over and over and I don't get tired of it. In fact I've become a big fan of it! I think ‘man, I wish we'd made this record - and then I remember we did!"

It's the guitars that do it. Both men have different styles and it's the chemistry set off by Kubek's muscular aggressiveness and fierce picking set against his partner's subtle, harmonic jazzy touches shot through with slinky rhythmic licks and pork fat chordings that makes the magic. They're constantly driving each other on with an energy that never fails to ignite their mix of big bad blues ballads, roadhouse boogies, Texas shuffles and blistering blues-rock.

The mid-paced shuffle My Guitar demonstrates just what they can do with six strings and the scorching Out Of Body Out Of Mind bulldozes along with great vocals, motorvatin' bass lines and terrific, screaming stretches of high octave guitar work from Kubek while King glides all over the place with his chunky moves and glistening licks. The title track, Have Blues Will Travel is a hearty romp with light lyrics but then they deliver a full force smack in the zippy solo from Kubek and King's crunching chords.

There's some clever themes in the songs that reflect the modern times in which we live - My Space Or Yours is about sexual adventures on the internet, RU4 Real covers plastic surgery and Out Of Body Out Of Mind contains some humorous wordplay but all the material is just a vehicle for Bnois and Kubek to let rip with what they do best and that's tear the joint up with their brilliant musicianship.

 

Review Date: July 2010

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