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Smokin' Joe Kubek and Bnois King - Have Blues, Will Travel

Alligator Records


I guess a partnership of twenty-one years will do that to you-create a bond were lyrics, delivery, wit and guitar riffs meld together sounding like they were always there. As long as these two keep making original blues songs that are refreshing, driving, thought provoking while appealing to the 'everyman', the prognosis for the blues looks good indeed. The combination of Smokin' Joe's guitar arsenal and Bnois' warm and familiar tone along with his subtle humor and guitar support make them a powerful blues one-two punch.

Rooted in basic blues, oft-times bolstered by a bit of boogie or rock crunch this disc shows the boys delivering a solid blues set, forgoing some of their rock n' roll detours of the past. Here they use some rock punch to push things along occasionally. The opening of the lead-off title track sounds like ZZ Top. The fuzzed guitar riff that leads into "Out Of Body, Out Of Mind" comes on like classic Foghat. Joe can call on many guitar styles at the drop of a hat....hard driving Texas blues, slashing slide, slow boogie-all the while assisted by Bnois' able guitar skills. Their unique gift of crafting road trip songs continues with the title track and "Out Of Body, Out Of Mind". I love the way they convey a sense of movement. On the latter, an ode to a romance gone wrong Bnois' offers- 'I'm out of body, out out of mind, out of here' and 'I'm seperated from my inner fool'.

They are true to the blues tradition by commenting on issues of the day. "RU4 Real?" has Bnois questioning his girl if she has botox, silicone, real eye color and what other parts are original. "My Space Or Yours?" takes their blues to the present with computer terms describing sex....'I wanna show you my hard drive'. A bouncy jazz-tinged riff bops this tune along. "Sleeping With One Eye Open" warns of the consequences of going to bed with your mate while she's pissed off.

Smokin' Joe's slide work accents the work -week remedies described in "Payday In America". Monday comes and 'gotta get back to sellin' my soul'. Throughout the reassuring quality in Bnois' voice conveys his emotions like a true friend. The slow, smoldering slide re-enforces the plaintive lyrics of "Wishful Thinking".

Hey, just thought of something......not one bum or samey track to be found here. A varied and enjoyable listen provided without the aid of extra musicians. Just the two road dogs along with the driving drums and bass of Adrian Marchi and John Morris respectively. The only outside help was from some co-writers and the able production of Alligator Records honcho Bruce Iglauer. As long as this crew keeps doing it up like this, heartfelt guitar- based blues are in good hands.

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

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