Jumpin’ Jack Strobel review…December 4, 2013….

JUMPIN’ JACK STROBEL

TIMES HAVE CHANGED

BLUES LEAF RECORDS  BL 9851

MOTHER EARTH–THINGS HAVE CHANGED–VALLEY OF TEARS–GET ON THE RIGHT TRACK BABY–I DON’T WANT TO KNOW–NEW ORLEANS BLUES–FEELS LIKE RAIN–BAD BAD WHISKEY–YOU MEAN EVERYTHING TO ME–DON’T THINK TWICE–UP THE LINE

For his latest album for Blues Leaf Records, “Things Have Changed,” Jumpin’ Jack Strobel has taken eleven varied and eclectic cuts from some of the blues genre’s most accomplished composers (as well as two Dylan tunes) and set them over his predominantly keyboard-based arrangements to showcase his incredible keys wizardry and supple vocal tones.  Repeated listenings allowed us to draw a comparison between Jack and Delmark recording artist Ken Saydak.

Jack has taken these cuts and created somewhat of a “Great American Blues Songbook,” as it were.  He leads off with the laconic, dirge-like “Mother Earth,” with his arrangement holding to Memphis Slim’s version.  Brush-stroked drums and Andy Riedel’s stinging leads punctuate hi version of “Up The Line,” and the fellows go into jump-blues mode with the call-and-response of “Bad Bad Whiskey” and “Get On The Right Track Baby.”  John Hiatt’s “Feels Like Rain” features fine slide from Andy, and he also offers up some sweet reverb in the Americana-flavored title cut.

We had two favorites, too.  Jack’s tinkling piano and extended solos from both Andy and Jack take us all down to Rampart Street in “New Orleans Blues,” “lookin’ for my pretty baby!”  And, the other Dylan song, “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright,” is presented here in a slower tempo with both his piano and organ prominently displayed.

Encouraged by his father, Jack Sr., to take up the piano, Jumpin’Jack dedicates “Things Have Changed” to his memory, and also to his wisdom and guidance.  These varied examples show that Jack has brilliant command of several genres’ which makes this set a fine roots/blues primer!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, Nashville Blues Society.

 

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