Juke Boy Bonner

Ghetto Poet

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Texas bluesman Weldon "Juke Boy" Bonner was a virtual one-man band with his stripped-down electric guitar playing, his constantly stomping foot, and the swampy sound of his racked harmonica, elements that made him sound like a cross between Jimmy Reed and Slim Harpo. Bonner's carefully considered lyrics are what set him apart from any other bluesman, however, and the best of his songs have a kind of weary emotional balance that show why the blues is capable of being a great vernacular art form. The opening track on this disc of previously unreleased material, "Daylight Won't Catch Me Here," is a perfect example of Bonner's craft, as it teeters between defeat and resolve, all with a relentless, driving rhythm. Other highlights here include the desperate humor of "Rainin' in My Room" and the brilliant album closer "It's Enough." Woefully underappreciated during his lifetime, Bonner ended up with a last-chance job loading crates of factory-raised chickens into the processing plant that would end their lives. This collection is drawn largely from a session on May 5, 1969.

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