Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King
Smokin” Joe Kubek’s nickname becomes more and more apt as time passes. This new CD is a smoking’ set of tunes, with 13 originals and one cover song. Joe and Bnois King have moved to Alligator Records after their highly successful “My Heart’s in Texas” CD and DVD on Blind Pig and have another big hit with “Blood Brothers.”
I have come around to Smokin’ Joe’s and Bnois’ stuff more and more over the years. While I’ve always liked their music, they really have gotten it together over the last two CDs. The new material that Joe and Bnois are penning and playing is super.
The one cover on this CD is an outstanding rendition of Lightnin’ Hopkins’ “Stop Drinkin’”. Bnois guts out some true grit in his vocals and the guitar licks are seminal stuff. It is so get-down-and-funky with Bnois and Joe trading licks back and forth in this 8+ minute cover. Not guts, no glory and this track has some guts!
The CD opens with “”My Dog’s Still Walkin’”where Bnois laments aging with some witty lyrics and smooth guitar work. “Midlife Crisis, Midnight Flight” is a later track also addressing the continuing theme here.
Two ideas run through this CD’s numbers: getting old and losing love. “Cold Folks Boogie,””That Ring Don’t Mean and Thing and “Don’t Lose Number” are examples of the latter thoughts. In that last track, the second on the CD, Bnois tells his girl to not to lose his number because she might need him someday and he just might be available. Really good, bluesy stuff with some nice slide mixed in here.
Bruce Iglauer helped the boys pen the instrumental track “Freezer Burn.” There is nothing cold in this track and it burns like a freezer at 50 below. Wicked, wicked stuff. They slow it down on the next track so the listener can catch their breath on a tune called “Coleman Avenue.” Joe proves he can mix it up well in both the fast and slow numbers, and Bnois' play and vocals are equally superb.
If you are looking for a new CD to sit down and relax with, this is not for you. Pretty much 10 of the songs get the heart pumping good and, while the other 4 give you a bit of respite, Smokin’ Joe and Bnois are blazing their way to new heights so there is no time to relax. I really enjoyed this CD and think that the guitar lovers out there will, too.