Smokin' Joe Kubek / Bnois King

Road Dog's Life

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Smokin' Joe Kubek and Bnois King first hooked up in 1987, and their musical association has lasted nearly 20 years. Their albums are dependable affairs that stick close to good old barroom Texas blues, and if they seldom deviate from that, well, that's fine, because they do it as well as anyone this side of Stevie Ray Vaughan. Road Dog's Life is the pair's second album for Delta Groove Music, who they signed with in 2012, and it follows the unplugged Close to the Bone, marking a return to plain old electric Texas blues. That's what you get here, plain and simple, with ten originals and an impressive pair of covers, the Rolling Stones' "Play with Fire" and the Beatles' "Don't Bother Me," both among the albums highlights. The sound, recorded by Prince's long-time engineer David Z, is warm, full, and makes intelligent use of stereo separation to give everything a broad, powerful kick. There's nothing new here -- Kubek and King aren't trying to expand Texas blues as much as they simply revel in it -- which is a good thing, since they do it so well.

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