Lil' Ed and his band have been kicking butt since the group solidified in 1987, and while Jump Start still doesn't capture the crazed energy of the band's on-stage antics, it comes pretty close. Ed's slashing slide guitar work is always incendiary and his vocals channel hints of every great bluesman from Muddy to B.B., but the thing that's most evident here is that Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials are a band. They produce a powerful, uplifting blues-rock sound full of high spirits and solid musicianship that's greater than the sum of its parts. The album is programmed like a live late-night set with each tune morphing into the next without a pause to keep things rocking and rolling along. Things kick off with the sarcastic love song "If You Were Mine," driven by Ed's stinging guitar and Kelly Litteton's powerful four-on-the-floor drumming. "Musical Mechanical Electrical Man" keeps up the frenetic pace with its jumping, jiving backbeat and Ed's smirking vocal. There's a Latin tinge to the syncopated backbeat of "Born Looser." "Jump Right In" rides Pookie Young's propulsive bassline while Ed delivers a winking lyric crammed with sly double entendres. "No Fast Food" follows suit with a cunning lesson in gustatory satisfaction that asks, "Why go out for burgers, when at home I can eat prime steak?" The band has a serious moment near the end of the album with "Moratorium on Hate," a plea for peace on the streets that features solid piano work by guest artist Marty Sammon. But most of this album is made for house parties, smoky bars, and three-day weekends, guaranteed to kick any gathering of fun-loving friends into overdrive. Play it loud and rock out!
AllMusic Review by j. poet