Review: Jimmy Bowskill – Live

Posted on: Friday, Apr 23, 2010

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Jimmy Bowskill – Live – Ruf Records 1158

I have to say that I was a little surprised with this release because Thomas Ruf has been a major influence in the blues world over the last 10 years or so and has produced many major and important cds in that time but for this reviewer, this release would have been better suited if it had been sent to the reviewers of Kerrang being right over to the rockier side of the blues/rock spectrum.

Toronto based Jimmy is still only 18 years old and has attracted the attention of many critics including Paul Rodgers and there is a distinct Free influence present in a number of the tracks including two covers.

Jimmy Bowskill can certainly play his guitar and he is backed by a very tight rhythm section but apart from Peter Green’s Rattlesnake Shake and B B King’s Three o’ Clock In The Morning, many of the tracks are heavy and cliched with masses of feedback and sustain and firmly entrenched in the rock world.

Having said that, in front of a very enthusiastic ( and I should imagine just plus or minus 20 years old) audience, they do create an exciting live performance which I’m sure would be better in reality than on disc.

The opening track Far From Reality sets the scene with a riff driven rocker before Rattlesnake Shake which features a very long one note solo (approximately 37 seconds – must have made an impact for me to time it!!).

The first Free cover Walk In My Shadow gets the Bowskill treament before the very good slow track Loser features some very fine vocals. This is then followed by Be Mine, another self penned track with some good slide work before the heavier Broken Down Engine, a rock/blues number shows a hint of Zeppelin.

Drifting Haze another slower track demonstrates Jimmy’s good vocals but Diamond Ring goes back firmly into the rock camp. Ride a Pony is the other Free cover which remains very similar to the original before leading into the fast rocker Karadag an instrumental that presents the compulsory drum solo.

However, Three o’ Clock in the Morning then shows that if Jimmy concentrated on playing just blues, what a fine act he and his band would be – great guitar and especially fine vocals – let’s have more of this.

The final track Link into Your Chain demonstrates a definite Stevie Ray Vaughan influence and is a good concluding track to what isn’t a bad cd – it does show that Jimmy is a good guitarist and has a great voice but I do personally find that many of the tracks do sound rather dated and he sounds no different to a lot of the young guitarists emerging not only from Canada/USA but also from the UK – but that does seem to be what Thomas Ruf likes these days.

PETE EVANS

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