Bnois King / Smokin' Joe Kubek

Have Blues, Will Travel

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Listening to the the title track of Have Blues Will Travel that opens the second Alligator set by the no-jive, grit-and-gravy Texas blues duo of Smokin' Joe Kubek and Bnois King, one can't help but recall another Texas outfit that used to rock this hard, playing the roadhouse boogie loud and proud: ZZ Top. Kubek's wicked slide playing and King's wrangling, razored leads trade places; the locked-in rhythm section of bassist John Morris and drummer Adrian Marchie gives them some room to really wail. The comparison is not an idle compliment since ZZ Top haven't sounded like themselves since Deguello. This track alone is almost worth the price of the disc (and certainly the price of a digital download). There are other cuts here that hammer just as hard, too, however: "Out of Body, Out of Mind," "One Step at a Time," and the closer "What a Sight to See" carry the same raw, blistering blues and boogie torch. The rest of the album contains the more conventional Texas Roadhouse blues that this unit has been playing for over 20 years. Not that there's there is anything wrong with that; fans of the Kubek/King partnership will no doubt be delighted by what this 51-minute album holds. That said, hearing the four cuts mentioned above, one wishes for an entire slab packed to the gills with the rangy, unleashed fury these cats can lay down when they want to.

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