Smokin' Joe Kubek & Bnois King
Roadhouse Research (Blind Pig 5080 2-4-03)
Reviewed by Don Brown Sr.
The Blues Internet
Las Vegas Jazz n' Blues
Las Vegas Blues
After spending the better part of the last 12 years on the road, Smokin' Joe Kubek and Bnois King have done their homework. So it's no surprise that their first Blind Pig release is the aptly titled Roadhouse Research.
Their eighth CD shows just how far these men have come. Smokin' Joe Kubek's crisp production makes the disc a standout. "Healthy Mama" opens the CD with a great groove, and Joe's brother Scott shaking his Blitz mints. As the story goes, they had laid down the track for "Healthy Mama," and the band had climbed into the booth to listen to the playback. Scott started shaking his mints to the song, and when everyone turned and looked at him, he thought he'd broken their concentration. Joe said "keep doing that, it sounds like a rattlesnake tail." The next thing, he's on the other side of the glass with headphones on and shaking mints to the playback. How quickly things can turn around on you. The antique microphone that Bnois used is distracting in this song. [Editor's note: Decide for yourself. Give a listen to Healthy Mama]
On "Tell Me Why" Bnois's voice smolders with sadness and heartbreak while Smokin' Joe's guitar work drives it along. The rhythm section of bassist Paul Jenkins and drummer Ralph Power power the tune "Cryin' Shame." King's vocals and Kubek's Stevie Ray Vaughan style guitar work tear the song up. "Got To Get Paid" may be the best song for the working man since Johnny Paycheck's "Take This Job And Shove It." "Better Be Gettin' It On" screams do it now, because tomorrow is not guaranteed. This driving tune may get you moving in two ways, your life and your feet.
Smokin' Joe's brother Scott never wrote a song before, but somehow came up with the great lyrics to "Runnin' Blind." This is the only song on the CD not written entirely by Joe and Bnois. The slow blues licks echo in your head long after the song is over. When an artist like Bnois King has to sing "The Blues Are Still With Us" it tells you that there are way too many people missing out on this music. With the slide into and guitar work on "I Need More," I'm reminded that when it comes to Smokin' Joe Kubek and Bnois King's new CD, I need more!