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Southern Soul and Blues – Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King

[Otis Rush

Otis Rush and Friends, featuring Eric Clapton and Luther Allison Live At Montreux 1986

Eagle Records 20084-2

Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King

My Heart’s In Texas

Blind Pig CD5102

Blind Pig DVD 6007

Smokin’ Joe and Bnois have been cooking up a storm since getting together sixteen years ago. Even though this is their tenth CD, it is their first live recording, and they couldn’t have picked a better venue or date for it. It was recorded at J&J’s Roadhouse and Blues Bar in Ft. Worth, Texas, on New Year’s Eve, 2005. The crowd was there to party, and the band made it easy for them.

The CD has eleven cuts, nine of them written by Joe and Bnois. Their blues songs range from slow, grinding ballads to rockers. Joe takes most of the guitar leads and Bnois plays rhythm guitar about 85% of the time, occasionally trading leads with Joe. Bnois adds his enjoyable vocals to ten of the eleven CD cuts and all the DVD cuts, and he is clearly the personality of the group. The other two members of the group are drummer Ralph Powers and bass Paul Jenkins.

The DVD duplicates the nine original songs plus two others also written by them. One of these, "I Need More", is a down and dirty blues song featuring slide guitar by Joe and great vocals by Bnois and should have been included on the CD. Other outstanding cuts are the opening song, "Burning To the Ground" and "Better Be Getting It On". "My Heart’s In Texas", the title song, is a Chuck Berry styled rocker with much more intricate lead work by Joe. The DVD has a bonus cut, an acoustic version of "Tired Of Crying Over You", and an interview where Bnois explains that he writes the lyrics and Joe writes the music.

If you like Texas roadhouse rock and blues, then "My Heart’s In Texas" is for you.

–Dan Guilfoyle