The Gibson Bros.

Memphis Sol Today!

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Recorded at the legendary Sun studios in Memphis, the Gibson Bros.' Memphis Sol Today! is packed with more of a firm grasp of, and raw take on, rock & roll history (too eagerly defiled to be considered sappy nostalgia) that has come to be the band, or more aptly the band's mastermind, Jeff Evans' trademark. This incarnation of the Gibson Bros. counts among its ranks a feisty young guitar-basher by the name of Jon Spencer (Cristina Martinez was present on the B-side of The Man Who Loved Couch Dancing). However, the fact that Spencer and the Gibson Bros./Jeff Evans are rarely mentioned in the same breath leaves plenty of room to speculate that the breakup wasn't pretty. Tipping their six-strings to their rock & roll forefathers, the Gibson Bros. mix in loose, amped-up takes on tracks by the likes of Junior Kimbrough. A romp through Kimbrough's "I Feel Good, Little Girl" finds Spencer stepping up to the mic and turning in a performance that, while indicative of things to come, lacks the hip-shakin' Elvis bravado of his work in the eponymous Blues Explosion. In general, the mic gets passed around so often that it's almost a chore to keep track of who is singing, though, frankly, it doesn't matter, as the boys all have talky vocal styles that convey the same cool, tough, "Robert Mitchum, whiskey, and rock & roll" attitude. The triple-guitar assault conveys a similar loose, twangy feel, creating a record that could have just as easily served as the soundtrack to a barroom brawl 40 years ago. Liner notes courtesy of Evans are entertaining as always, as his never-stop-to-take-a-breath, stream-of-consciousness writing style reads like the literary equivalent of his band's raucous sound. Along the way, Evans manages to touch on topics like classic recording artists (including Charlie Feathers and Rev. Robert Wilkins) and racism and Martin Luther King, Jr.. To quote the liner notes, "When you pray tonight, pray a little harder for the Gibson Bros.." Amen.

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