Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I'll Be Alright reviewed by Rick Davis

I'll Be Alright
Jumpin' Jack Benny
Boppin' Records
11 Tracks

Jumpin' Jack Benny is one of the most extraordinary Las Vegas style acts you will see today! The band rocks with Benny Cortez on vocals and harmonica, Tony Fingers on guitar, Eric Tice on drums, Mike Stover on bass, and Kirk Nelson on keyboards. After listening to their debut album I'll Be Alright, you can hear the influence from artists like Koko Taylor, Little Walter, James Brown, Paul Butterfield, Freddy King, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

They open with the Ronnie Earl/Darrell Nulisch tune "I Don't Believe" blending the superb guitar solos of Fingers, Nelson's keys, and the high-powered vocals and energetic harp of Cortez. This opening number sets the stage for a world class collection of blues tunes. They call on the back up vocals of Betsy Villasenor and a powerful horn section on the self-penned hard drivin' R&B tune "Tell Me Please." The second Cortez/Fingers song "Let Your Love Go" (shades of a Bob Seger tune) employ a strong back up vocal entourage. The title track, another Cortez/Fingers tune "I'll Be Alright" is the one that really emphasizes this showcase of all-stars. The third self-penned tune is the title track "I'll Be Alright." "Mean Woman Blues" a Brother Red (James Achor) number opens with one incredible guitar intro and then explodes with Tony Fingers tearing up the fretboard along with the extremely soulful voice of Cortez. The entire band with Cortez and Fingers once again in the spot light tear it up on the Koko Taylor (LaSalle) song "Find a Fool." On the next Cortez/Fingers tune "Big Woman Blues," they slow it down a bit and give you a sample of the expertise of Fingers on the slide guitar. The party continues with the Little Milton tune "Take Me Out To Hear Some Blues" and the Cortez/Fingers Jump/Jive number "Party's On." The band captures the essence of their rollicking live performances on the album with the CD concluding with a live version of the Smokin' Joe Kubek (La Salle) tune "One More Song" and another original tune "You Got Yours I Got Mine."

Jumpin' Jack Benny delivers a high energy performance in this their debut album. It will leave you as exhausted as one of their live shows. If at all possible, catch one of their shows and in the mean time sample this extraordinary blues group on YouTube.

Reviewed by Rick Davis

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