Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers: True Stories

Jason MacNeil

Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers

True Stories

Label: Telarc
US Release Date: 2003-05-27
UK Release Date: Available as import

Guitarist Jimmy Thackery wrote a good portion of his latest album with the help of his wife Sally. "Pure and simple, I think this is my best work," he says in the liner notes. But what makes this album slightly different than his other albums is that he allowed each song to be flushed out entirely, not cutting any corners for the sake of being conservative or sticking to a formula. Living in Arkansas, the blues is still present, but it comes off more as an Americana, John Hiatt-type of blues. This is especially evident during the opener, "Got It Going On". Although Thackery leads most of this song with his guitar, equally important is Ken Faltinson's bass and Mark Stutso's drumming. It resembles George Thorogood and the Destroyers as senior citizens, which isn't to detract from the quality of the song.

"Blues Man on Saturday Night" is more of a traditional mid-tempo to slow tempo blues structure, with Jimmy Carpenter's saxophones accentuating at the right time, every time. You can also hear that Thackery has lived through most of these songs, which is why most of them pass the bar. The guitar solos aren't going to blow you away, but the overall effect is above average. "I'm going to a juke joint / Where I wanna be", he sings as if he's preaching to the converted. The solos conclude a good portion of this song, but not at the song's quality. "Baby's Got the Blues" is a very slow building tune that thankfully never gets into a bigger or larger sound. Reba Russell lends backing vocals and makes this a trip down memory lane. Comparisons to current Clapton blues songs could be made with this number. One surprise is "I Think I Hear the Rain," a slight pop-blues track that has all the characteristics of a Robert Cray song. How it holds up over nearly six minutes is another story, with the middle portion sadly sagging as Thackery shifts down much too much.

Thackery enjoys moving from one area to another throughout this album. "Snakes in My Mailbox" has that '40s big band feeling to it while still reeking of blues. But this song also doesn't have much oomph to it, too often plodding along at a snail's pace. There are decent guitar solos here, but not enough to warrant the song's length. More rootsy and murky is the toe-tapping "Dancin' with the Dawg", a tune that has little percussion but really doesn't need it. With one guitar dubbed over the other, the louder electric solo is buried below the subtler, more refined solo. A dog is also barking once or twice in case you forgot the song title. "Being Alone" is another fine song with a good hook, although Thackery opens up with more talk about dogs. The Drivers, his supporting cast, show their goods here without stealing Thackery's thunder.

A cover of Buddy Johnson's "Crazy 'Bout a Saxophone" is a jumping and swinging blues track that has a slight '40s-era thread in it. It also allows Jimmy Carpenter to take the proverbial ball and run with it for more than five minutes. Thackery complements as well, though on the latter half of the song. A finale takes place with a cover of Roy Buchanan's "The Messiah Will Come". This nine-minute track begins with a blues meets prog rock style in the vein of Pink Floyd's "Shine on You Crazy Diamond". Thackery mixes a great amount of passion with precision here as Ken Faltinson is all over his B-3 organ. It seems an odd conclusion, but the song is a very good if somewhat dreamy blues track. Overall, fans either with the blues or about to get them will find some solace in these songs.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.