Review: The Jimmy Bowskill Band – Back Number

Posted on: Monday, Feb 27, 2012

Jimmy Bowskill Band - Back Number (CD cover)

“Back Number”
(Ruf Records RUF 1175)

This is 21-year old Toronto-based singer/guitarist Jimmy Bowskill’s fifth album, which is quite an achievement for one so young. His band is completed by Ian McKeown on bass and Dan Reiff on drums. The album comprises eleven tracks, nine of which were written by Bowskill – two with his fellow band members and one in collaboration with Ron Sexsmith. The other two numbers were composed individually by Sexsmith and Mark Farmer.

The album opens with “Take A Ride”, a slow meaty rocker, while “Linger On The Sweet Time” raises the tempo before “Salty Dog” slows the pace a little, exuding a distinctly Jon Amor ambience. “Little Bird”, the Sexsmith collaboration, delivers a catchy riff and an insistent beat in contrast to the ballad that is “Spirit Of The Town”, which is enriched with horn (Bowskill on trumpet and McKeown on trombone) and organ (from Aaron Hoffmann) accompaniment.

Mark Farmer’s “Sin’s A Good Man’s Brother” is another heavy-beating, slow burner, complete with a Paul Kossoff-style guitar solo and peak-loaded vocals from Bowskill. No less than Paul Rodgers has favourably compared Bowskill’s playing with that of Free’s guitar maestro. “Sinking Down” and “Down The Road” are both steady rocking numbers, bearing shades of The Hoax and Free respectively, with the latter featuring a blistering guitar solo.

Following the slow and reflective “Seasons Change”, the concluding two tracks of the album provide an unexpected diversion from the wall of blues-rock that precedes them, delivering variations on the basic blues shuffle. “Broke Down Engine” is weighty and invasive while on Ron Sexsmith’s jazzy “Least Of My Worries” Bowskill, in complete contrast to what has gone before, reveals his gentle side with restrained vocals and impressive tinkling of the ivories,

This is a magnificent CD that provides a brilliant showcase of Jimmy Bowskill’s exceptional talents. He is understandably lauded for his guitar playing but it is his tremendous vocal delivery that separates him from the crowd, hovering as it does somewhere between Steve Marriott and the aforementioned Paul Rodgers. It is no surprise that he appeared in 2010 in support of Jeff Beck and Joe Bonamassa in Bonn in a gig dubbed The Three J’s and it will be no surprise if he is internationally proclaimed as a star of the blues-rock community in the very near future.

Band’s Website
Ruf Records Website

Lionel Ross

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