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Happy Hosting, Happy New Year - Rob Ellen
Guitar Jack has been around for quite a while, and in that time he has recorded with the likes of Ray Charles, The Jacksons, Billy Preston, Solomon Burke and Thelma Houston among others (who include Kelly Z – he appears on “Rescue”, recently reviewed on this website), as well as working with John Fogerty and Hank Ballard, and running the house band at BB King’s Blues Club. And, judging from the variety of music on this set, just about everyone in that list has left their mark on his music – along with Stevie Wonder, who certainly came to mind on several tracks; listen to the melody and delivery on ‘Shipwrecked’ for a good example of what I mean.
The first few tracks establish Jack’s blues credentials, with the inspiration of Albert King and BB King evident on ‘You Don’t Feel The Same’ and ‘Power Of Love’ respectively, whilst a track like ‘No Stranger’ is a blues but with more than a hint of a pop feel; ‘Only-est One’ is a tender soul ballad, and the closing, lyrically nicely positive ‘Sending Out A Message’ brought to mind early Steely Dan and other mellow 70s rockers. The set’s only non-original is an inventive reworking of Woody Guthrie’s staple ‘Goin’ Down The Road Feeling Bad’, the folkiness of the original transformed into a driving blues with hints of Canned Heat’s late 60s hit ‘ Goin’ Up The Country’. An interesting set then by this guitarist, and guest appearances by singer Willie Chambers (of The Chambers Brothers) and legendary backing singers The Sweet Inspirations suggest he is held in high regard by his peers. And that too is evident on this CD.
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