Review: The Rusty Jacks – Holler ‘N’ Howl

Posted on: Monday, Jan 12, 2015

Rusty Jacks – Holler ‘N’ Howl

(Self-release)

This is ‘blues with bite’ say these boys from County Londonderry – who clearly would rather be from Mississippi or Texas. They bill themselves as a ‘Southern Blues Band’ and that cap fits well.

There’s a range of southern fried treats on the menu here, good ol’ boy boogie, slow blues and some fine acoustic guitar and slide. But it’s when they revert to their own rock-blues blend that they are at their most convincing when there is a more than a hopeful nod in the direction of both ZZ Top and Stevie Ray. My minor gripe that some of the tracks overstay their welcome a little is also a recognition of the enthusiasm so obvious here. This is good stuff but I bet Rusty Jacks are a gas live.

I assume also that this fine mainly self-penned effort is a self-produced release. There are few credits on the sleeve and a dig around their website produced only first names of the band members. I would guess they might be shy but there’s nothing bashful about these performances.

Best of the bunch are the rockers, particularly the boogie stormer ‘Saturday Night Again’ (why hasn’t anyone monikered that before?) featuring steaming guitar and harp (Ramsay and Aidan respectively). Second guitarist Shelby is also main singer with a vocal style powerful, harsh and tightly coiled. ‘Down In The Gutter’ also showcases the band’s talent, rolling along with a rhythm section (Kieran, Declan) which seems to be permanently about to drive the number into a faster gear and, like the fine shuffle ‘You Tease Me’, has some backing vocal to add just a touch of welcome contrast.

A couple of lighter numbers, the bouncy ‘Pay My Dues’ and a superb down-the-delta acoustic slide/harp finale, ‘The Sun Is Shining’, again offer some deft playing and add spice to the mix.

The two covers are a fine ‘Good Morning Little Schoolgirl’ and an equally convincing ‘The Hunter’, here wrongly credited to Free. Still that’s better than Canned Heat – they credited it to themselves and called it ‘Amphetamine Annie.’

JOHN BOTTOMLEY

www.RustyJacksBluesBand.com

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