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David Kimbrough Jr.

Shell-Shocked

(Lucky 13; US: 2 May 2006; UK: Available as import)

From the potent, impassioned title number on this CD, one can gather that the son of the late bluesman Junior Kimbrough was in the very Parchman farm of the old song as a victim of drug-taking. He’s a capable performer, on that margin of blues close to soul/ R&B where Buddy Guy has operated for over 50(!) years now.  The opening two titles really belong over the border, but he comes back.  Decent guitar work and modest tasteful accompaniment, the playing time is more than long enough, so that some cutting back on the length of performances, for a bit of zip, wouldn’t inevitably have incurred accusations of short measure. I’d not have complained about wanting more of the same. The CD could have been better overall if several individual performances had been shorter, and since the notes suggest that some accompaniments were dubbed later, perhaps just a single recording with a band could have maintained more sparks. It might have sounded more spontaneous. There’s one unaccompanied vocal title, not the first recorded in a cell at Parchman.  The guy’s talents aren’t in doubt,  but there does seem to be some company silliness in suggesting he’s a more soulful performer than his father. This really means that his repertoire and range extend into that area. The notion that there is some “next step” which North Mississippi blues could take is damned silly. The real question is whether a musician can extend things in this or that direction. And very possibly the performer of “Shell Shocked” can. I look forward to what he does next.

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