Smokin' Joe Kubek

Bite Me!

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Guitarist Smokin' Joe Kubek and his partner, singer-guitarist Bnois King, were signed to Bullseye Blues just after the bubble burst on the crossover appeal of electric Texas blues, with the breakup of the Fabulous Thunderbirds and the death of Stevie Ray Vaughan in 1990. While the label may have hoped they would fill those shoes, Kubek and King have never, in seven albums, really made much of a move to the mainstream, remaining content to turn out faithful recreations of Texas-style blues. On their first few albums, they recorded a lot of covers, while their most recent efforts have consisted entirely of band originals, which is also the case on Bite Me! But the musical structures are so familiar that the songwriting credits are only nominal; Kubek and King are more about playing than writing. They work in the occasional novelty, such as the "talkbox" Kubek sucks on in the opening track, "If You Know What I'm Sayin'," but King makes the players' fidelity clear in the lyrics -- "you know what the blues is about." They do, and they perform it as well here as they ever have.

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