Jimmy Thackery And Tab Benoit
Review by Todd Warnke
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CD Number: Telarc CD-83559
Brazil and France, ranked first and second and the winners of the last two World Cups, could face-off tomorrow for the soccer crown of the universe and about one percent of the
United States would notice. Likewise, on this excellent release Jimmy
Thackery, former lead guitarist of The Nighthawks, and Tab Benoit, join forces and I fear that since they are "Blues" players, little of what passes for musical culture in the
United States will notice. Their loss, but hopefully not yours.
Telarc set this session up beautifully. Pair the Hendrix-inspired Thackery with the swamp voodoo sound of Benoit, back them with Tommy Shannon, Chris Layton and Reese Wynans (otherwise known as Double Trouble, Stevie Ray Vaughan's backing band), mix in labelmate Charlie Musselwhite on harp for a couple of tunes and then send them all up to The Studio in Portland, Maine to capture them in damn near perfect sound. The result, if not a showdown between the number one and two players, is close enough to merit World Cup attention.
Thackery opens the disk with a chugging take on "I Ain't Broke" and infuses that tune with just the right amount of defiance backbone. Benoit follows with a nasty, dark and authentic turn on "Whiskey Store". The remaining nine tunes are divided almost equally divided with Benoit getting the extra turn up front. Thackery shines on a rousing, funny take on Dylan's "Leopard-skin Pill-box Hat" as well as on a hell-driven version of the Rolling Stones' "The Last Time" while Benoit stands out on a gentle and sweet cover of Neil Young's "Unknown Legend" as well as on a remake of his own "Nice and Warm". The latter tune, especially, showcases all that is right with the blues. Benoit used the original to launch his career while garnering mainstream attention. A decade later his voice has gained a rasp that integrates nicely with the lyrics, while the playing on this version is also sharper, less sweeping and more focused as befits the song.
From top to bottom this album is a near-prefect meeting between two of the
young(er) stars on the blues circuit. In a just world this recording would not be buried in the back of the record store, but would be on the front end piece, displacing the latest
Eminem. Since the world is not just, at least make your record collection just and give this one a spin.
Sound Quality: 90