Review: Smokin’ Joe Kubek & Bnois King – Road Dog’s Life

Posted on: Wednesday, Nov 13, 2013


Smokin’ Joe Kubek & Bnois King – Road Dog’s Life

(Delta Groove Music: DGPCD0162)

Since joining forces in 1989 Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King had released 13 albums before joining Delta Groove Music and releasing last year’s critically acclaimed “Close To The Bone”, which saw the duo forgo the normal plugged-in and rocking style associated with them and release an almost all-acoustic record – aided and abetted by lots of friends and guests, including Big Pete, Randy Chortkoff, Shawn Pittman, Kirk Fletcher, and a host more.

On “Road Dog’s Life” they return to the ‘ roadhouse rocking’, on a set that includes 11 originals and a couple of interesting covers. As ever the two contrasting guitar styles gel together, coupled with King’s soulful vocals; and also guest including the great Kim Wilson on harmonica, Kid Andersen on guitar, and the brilliant rhythm section of Willie J. Campbell (bass) and Jimi Bott (drums), with Delta Groove CEO Randy Chortkoff also guesting on harmonica.

Proceedings get underway with the tale of “Big Money Sonny”, a tale of gambler from Texas . . . it’s a chugging rocker which features tasteful soloing from both Kubek and King, and driven in fine style by the rhythm section of Campbell and Bott; the following “Come On In” rides on a glorious guitar motif and is a mid-tempo number with trademark Bnois King vocal. Kim Wilson and Randy Chortkoff add harmonica to the Texas shuffle of “Nobody But You” . . . a standout here.

The title cut, “Road Dog’s Life” rocks along in fine style with the crunching, contrasting guitars of the duo. The pace is taken down for the slower blues of “K9 Blues”, again featuring Kim Wilson, with more lovely guitar leads. The soulful rumba of “That Look On Your Face” has a Latin feel, with Kid Andersen helping out on guitar duties, and it is another gem here.

George Harrison’s “Don’t Bother Me” – the first of his compositions to appear on an album by The Beatles – is covered, with more really nice guitar work; as is The Rolling Stones “Play With Fire”- here given a crunch Texas rocking feel – featuring rousing harmonica from Randy Chortkoff – and it’s none the worse for it. The closing country-flavoured “That Don’t Work No More” is a great closer, with again the majestic rhythm section of Jimi Bott and Willie J. Campbell driving the tune along, with more guitar fireworks from King and Kubek.

A most enjoyable release that will appeal to all fans of particularly the Texas blues from this long-established pairing and a host of top musicians, that is highly recommended.


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