Smokin' Joe Kubek & Bnois King - Blood Brothers / Roadhouse Research

Album: Blood Brothers
Size: 140,0 MB
Time: 60:24
File: MP3 @ 320K/s
Released: 2008
Styles: Texas Blues, Modern Electric Blues
Label: Blind Pig Records
Art: Full

01. My Dog's Still Walkin' (3:52)
02. Don't Lose My Number (3:33)
03. Flame Thrower (3:16)
04. Stop Drinking (8:12)
05. Must Be Karma (2:51)
06. Freezer Burn (4:32)
07. Coleman Avenue (5:45)
08. Midlife Crisis, Midnight Flight (3:05)
09. Bumpy Ride (3:17)
10. That Ring Don't Mean A Thing (4:52)
11. Cold Folks Boogie (4:43)
12. Out On A Limb (3:14)
13. The Pleasure Was All Mine (6:00)
14. Troubled Dreams (3:05)

Smokin' Joe Kubek and Bnois King have been slinging out no-nonsense, bar band-approved Texas blues-boogie since 1991. Between nonstop touring and about a dozen similar-sounding albums, little has changed for the duo besides the label affiliation. Bullseye Blues, Blind Pig, and now Alligator have helped put their music in front of a wider audience, but since the discs are pretty much interchangeable, it's little wonder their audience hasn't expanded beyond a core of hardcore fans. That's something of a badge of honor in the business they are in, though, and the very fact that King and Kubek have survived nearly two decades in the blues trenches without altering their basic approach is impressive. As you'd expect, that holds true on the duo's Alligator debut. It's another hourlong set of tough, robust, Texas soul-blues that cruises along and occasionally shifts into overdrive. The John Lee Hooker slow swamp groove of "Stop Drinking" explodes into a guitar dual that's about as hot as they have gotten in the studio, and "Midlife Crisis, Midnight Flight" further elaborates about getting healthy in the caffeine, nicotine, and booze-filled world where they reside. But tunes like the "I'm a Man" rewrite entitled "That Ring Don't Mean a Thing" just sound like you have heard them before with different lyrics, which you have. While that's not unusual in the blues, at least the material is performed with gusto and energy. King's soulful vocals are distinctive throughout, adding a unique quality, and Kubek's licks always sting despite the rehashed approach. The hard rock of "Troubled Times" sounds close to old Bad Company and nudges them into slightly different waters. But generally this is another quality effort from the dependable Texas twosome who play to their impressive strengths, and is as good as any for newcomers to partake in their rootsy, rocking attack. ~Review by Hal Horowitz

Blood Brothers (MC)
Blood Brothers (BU)

Album: Roadhouse Research
Size: 109,1 MB
Time: 47:17
File: MP3 @ 320K/s
Released: 2003
Styles: Texas Blues, Modern Electric Blues
Label: Blind Pig Records
Art: Full

01. Healthy Mama (3:56)
02. Tell Me Why (3:41)
03. Cryin' Shame (4:09)
04. Got To Get Paid (4:09)
05. Better Be Getting It On (3:44)
06. Runnin' Blind (5:45)
07. The Blues Is Still With Us (4:55)
08. Make It Right (4:32)
09. I Need More (5:09)
10. Standing In My Door (7:13)

Unfortunately for Joe Kubek and his shotgun-riding singer/rhythm guitarist partner Bnois King, in the wake of great Texas guitarists like the Vaughan Brothers, just being a really good Lone Star fret slinger gets overlooked. Which is a shame, because over the course of nine albums, Kubek and King crafted a workmanlike if understated catalog of R&B-influenced roadhouse blues. On their debut for Blind Pig, the duo churn up more of the same fare they refined the previous 12 years. Their blues-rock is genuine if derivative, and Kubek is a rugged six-stringer who makes up for his lack of a distinctive sound with gutsy meat-and-potatoes playing. Thankfully, King adds warmth and class with his smooth, soulful, and entirely unpretentious singing. His relaxed voice contrasts perfectly with Kubek's tensile, rough-and-ready licks, infusing this music with a yin-yang that elevates it far above bar-band standards. Soulful, nearly pop numbers like "Tell Me Why" allow King to croon outside the confines of a tightly constructed blues tune. Suave yet tight, this and the funky "Cryin' Shame" open up the approach and push at the genre's boundaries. Bogged down slightly by obvious lyrics and song titles like "The Blues Is Still With Us" (a thin rewrite of "The Blues Is Alright") and "Got to Get Paid," this remains down-to-earth, often moving music whose heart is as big as the artist's home state. ~Review by Hal Horowitz

Roadhouse Research (MC)
Roadhouse Research (BU)

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