A 60-minute one-nighter in Montevideo, Uruguay, or a six-o’clock show at Sam’s Burger Joint in San Antonio, Texas—some small club or roadhouse, anyway—that’s where guitarist Smokin’ Joe Kubek and singer/rhythm guitarist Bnois King have been kicking up a storm since first meeting in 1989. If there was actually someone working quality control on modern electric Texas blues recordings, these boys would be gold-certified and stamped. Each album, and there’s been a few—though Blood Brothers is their first for Chicago’s Alligator Records—is always a solid affair that makes you wish you were right down front with a cold one in your hand. Blood Brothers is no exception. Highlights include the guys’ trademark, almost jazzy, fluid call-and-response guitar interplay (“My Dog’s Still Walkin’” and the record’s only cover, a lengthy workout of Lightnin’ Hopkin’s “Stop Drinking”) and King’s ability to switch from guttural, blues shouter (“Don’t Lose My Number”, “Troubled Dreams”) to shuffle-groove soul wailer (“Out on a Limb”), while shades of Booker T and the MG’s can be heard on the backbeat of rollicking instrumental “Freezer Burn”. As long as these two guys are out there, you can bet someplace, somewhere will be rocking tonight.
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// Notes from the Road
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