Jim Suhler And Monkey Beat review…June 27, 2016….

JIM SUHLER

AND MONKEY BEAT

LIVE AT THE KESSLER

UNDERWORLD RECORDS  UND 0027

INTRO BY ERIC NADEL–I DECLARE–ACROSS THE BRAZOS–DOIN’ THE BEST I CAN–TIJUANA BIBLE–MY MORNING PRAYER–DEJA BLUE–TEXASSIPPI–REVERIE–SUNDAY DRUNK–DEVIL IN ME–PANTHER BURN–SCATTERGUN–PO’ LIGHTNIN–PRAYIN’ FOR RAIN–RESTLESS SOUL–

We saw Jim Suhler at his other well-known gig, as lead guitarist for George Thorogood And The Destroyers, at the historic Ryman Auditorium on March 7, 2016, as part of their “Badder Than Ever” tour.  He’s played with George since 1999, and, in his time off, fronts his own solid blues outfit, the Dallas-based Monkey Beat.  Their latest set, for Underworld Records, is “Live At The Kessler.”  Jim chose that venue for its pristine acoustics, and the cuts, aside from two new songs, come from four of his previous studio albums.

This one is Texas-styled boogie-blues at its best, fans–live and loud, raw and proud, in front of a highly-appreciative crowd!  Jim is on guitar and vocals,  and he is joined by Chris Alexander on bass, Shawn Phares on keys, Beau Chadwell on drums, and special guests Tim Alexander on keys, and Tex Lovera on cigar-box guitar.

The roadhouse shuffle of “I Declare” kicks things off, gettin’ everyone in a party mood.  Another furious rocker finds Jim trying to drink a lover off his mind, having “sour mash for breakfast, and beer in the afternoon,” looking for a good ol’ “Sunday Drunk again!”   The melting pot of sounds from the Gulf Coast mixed in with the blues of the Lone Star State is the theme of the breezy, reverent, “Texassippi,” while “Po’ Lightnin, dead and gone, left me here to sing this song” is a downright funky tribute to one of Jim’s Texas blues heroes, Lightnin’ Hopkins.

We had two favorites, too, and slide guitar runs rampant thru the both of ’em.  First up is the stop-time jive of “Scattergun,” and one of the new songs has JIm explaining that “I can’t play like B. B. King, but I’m Doin’ The Best I Can!”

Jim Suhler And Monkey Beat have been together for over twenty years, and they just keep getting better.  “Live At The Kessler” is the perfect showcase for their 200-proof brand of Texas boogie-woogie!    Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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