Friday, May 3, 2013

4 Jacks -- "Deal With It"

Continuing with my project of catching up with some great cds that came out in the depths of last winter, I present to you a blues "Supergroup."
The 4 Jacks release "Deal With It" came out last February, and this is a great cd! The band consists of Anson Funderburgh, Big Joe Maher, Kevin McKendree, and Steve Mackey.

The "J" of Jaks, Big Joe Maher is a great drummer and bandleader. His band the Dynaflows has been a standout on the blues scene for many years. The "A" is Anson Funderburgh is one of the very best guitar players around, and he and his band The Rockets have been active for over 30 years.The "K" is Kevin McKendree, who has been Delbert McClinton's bandleader for many years, along with being a great keyboard player. He also had toured with Brian Setzer. Kevin recorded, mixed and produced this cd at his studio "The Rock House" just outside Nashville. And the "S" is Steve Mackey is the bass player in this band, and he has recorded and toured with a long list of great bands and artists. Steve is one of Nashville's first call session players. Additional musicians include Yates McKendree piano on "Ansonmypants" and Rob McNelley rhythm guitar on "I Don't Want To Be President" and "Thunder And Lightning. "

Eight of the twelve songs are originals on "Deal With It" have Big Joe Maher involved in the writing. Maher also is the chief vocalist. The covers are Percy Mayfield's "I Don't Want To Be President," Gil Caple's "Your Turn To Cry, " L Cadden's "Bad News Baby," and "Ansonmypants," by Joe Maher and Yates McKendree.  The songwriting is all uniformly strong, and the singing and playing are everywhere crisp and solid. Every song here should be in serious radio rotation. The title track is a smoking instrumental, and "Have Ourselves A Time" sounds like a Roomful Of Blues track. "I Don't Want To Be President" is timely and it has great guitar. "She Ain't Worth A Dime" is marvelous--Kevin McKendree rips it up on piano, and the song shows these guys can bring that old-school jump blues just like Louis Jordan. "Love's Like That" features Anson Funderburgh channeling his inner Duke Robillard over a smooth jazzy rhythm. "Bobcat Woman" may be the most Texas-styled song in the set--Anson wrapping the melody around the core of Kevin's piano and Joe's drumming. "Your Turn To Cry" is the requisite slow blues, showing off Big Joe's vocals and McKendree's B-3 organ and Anson's guitar. "Thunder And Lightning" picks up the tempo again, and may be my favorite song on the cd--all involved give their best on this one. "Texas Twister" is an Anson Funderburgh showcase, and he truly flies with the opportunity. "Ansonmypants" features Laura McKendree's vocals in a marvelous duet with Big Joe.  "Bad News Baby" sounds like it could be an old Ray Charles song--it really is that good. And "Painkiller" wraps things up with a flourish--the first time I heard this instrumental I thought is was Booker T & The MGs, and the next time I heard it I thought it was from the movie "Shaft." Really nice R&B cooker.

You can buy this cd at                       

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