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Rocky Jackson - Testify!

High Life Records


Good intentions, able guitar skills and vocals don't necessarily a great blues record make. Rocky opens up with an overlong version of Muddy Waters' "I Just Want To Make Love To You" handling lead and rhythm guitar duties adequately but otherwise marred by his affected vocal. On "Stop Breakin' Down" he comes off sounding like Peter Green which suits the song by giving a nod to Green. His out-and-out Jimmy Reed imitation on Reed's "Don't Say Nothin'" is an 'oh my gawd' moment of embarrassment.

His vocal delivery works better when he uses his natural voice that has enough of a rough edge of it's own. He's a good guitar player  and he's more comfortable when executing one of his originals. The jaunty Texas shuffle groove adorning "Big Legs Don't Mean Fat" and "I Wanna Testify( About My Baby)" tend to grow on you. The same can be said of "Early In The Morning" where Michael Fell's harmonica provides nice accents as it does elsewhere. His harp and Rocky's guitar work well in tandem on the instrumental "Like Magic" a tribute to the late, great Magic Sam.

"Voodoo Spell" points out the lack of developed and more imaginative lyrics. "Chicken-Legged Woman" has a back porch acoustic vibe with clichéd lyrics. Rocky saves the best for last....."L.A. To Austin" clicks in on all fronts as his Johnny Winter-ish slinky slide compliments the lyrics nicely.

Rocky has the guitar skills and a pleasing natural blues voice, but needs to find and use his own 'voice'. More thought should also be given to his original songs, besides using them as jumping off points for his guitar workouts. Only then will he deliver a more even performance. The blurb on the jacket says 'Old School Roots With A Modern Edge'. That modern edge got rounded off somewhere, it's nowhere to be found. When Rocky and band shape there skills into something they can call their own, then they will have something to testify about. Until that time the few bright spots here will have to hold us.

Reviewer Greg 'Bluesdog' Szalony is from the New Jersey Delta. He is the proprietor of Bluesdog's Doghouse at

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