Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King review…September 22, 2013…

SMOKIN JOE KUBEK AND BNOIS KING

ROAD DOG’S LIFE

DELTA GROOVE RECORDS   DGPCD 162

BIG MONEY SONNY–COME ON IN–NOBODY BUT YOU–ROAD DOG’S LIFE–K9 BLUES–THAT LOOK ON YOUR FACE–FACE TO FACE–DON’T BOTHER ME–I AIN’T GREASIN–TALKIN’ BOUT BAD LUCK–PLAY WITH FIRE–THAT DON’T WORK NO MORE

With Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King, you know up front what to expect—excellent guitar from two different-styled players that blend seamlessly and feed off each other.  Joe spent some time with Freddie King, and his lead lines are as “smokin” as they come.  With Bnois, he has a more jazz-infused, T-Bone Walker style, and his vocals are always topical and straight to the heart.  It’s been a successful formula for fourteen albums, and, for their fifteenth, “Road Dog’s Life,” for Delta Groove, they celebrate life as traveling bluesmen for the better part of the last twenty-five years.

There are ten band originals and two covers herein, and, like most Delta Groove releases, there’s always a choice group of backing musicians along for the ride.  Many of the cuts undoubtedly are snapshots of people and things they have seen as they travel the world, and it’s our good fortune that they share this great music with us.

Take the leadoff shuffle, “Big Money Sonny,” for example.  He’s a character with a “car trunk full of money” and a penchant for gambling.  A woman who “can’t be corraled” is invited to “Come On In, and stay until you want to go,” as Bnois knows she’ll never be his.  “That Look On Your Face”  has Joe playing some fiery rhumba licks, then some deep, fuzz-toned blues-rock in the somber George Harrison ode to a lost lover, “Don’t Bother Me.”

There’s also some good ole Texas roadhouse boogie, too.  The fellows’ tale of life as a bachelor, “I Ain’t Greasin,” fills the bill, and features Kim Wilson on harp and vocals.  Kim and Randy Chortkoff also join Bnois on a cool three-way “duet” in the loping boogie of  “Nobody But You,” where Joe and Bnois both swap some red-hot licks.

We had two favorites, too.  Bnois’ woman calls him out over his “wandering eyes,”  in “K9 Blues,” with more harp from Mr. Wilson.  And, Bnois refuses to do the cell phone/text/tweets parade, saying the only way he’ll meet someone is “one-on-one, Face To Face.”  The guitar from both players really blisters on this tale of a man staying true to his old-school ways!

As the lyrics say in the title cut, even tho they’ve lived a “Road Dog’s Life,”  ‘we wouldn’t have it any other way!”  We’ve had the pleasure of listening to Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King almost since they started, and this is one of their best sets ever!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow

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