Sunday, May 30, 2010

Rocky Jackson "Testify!" and Chainsaw Dupont "Acoustified Electrified"

Two guitar players, they both sing. Rocky Jackson brings 13 songs on his Texas-based "Testify!" and 5 covers--by Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, Robert Johnson, Traditional, and Willie Dixon. Chainsaw Dupont brings 18 songs on the live from Chicago "Acoustified Electrified" and 3 covers--by Mel London, Albert King, and Howlin Wolf. If it's Mel London that must mean another cover of "Messin With The Kid," right? Right--that's one mark against Chainsaw. But Rocky Jackson's covers include another overdone song--Willie Dixon's "I Just Want To Make Love To You." That's one mark against Rocky.

But other than one over-obvious cover each, I like both these cds. Rocky Jackson and Chainsaw Dupont both have plenty enough talent and ability, they both can play and sing and write, they have have made solid listenable cds, I'm sure they both can put on a good live show. In the pantheon of the blues these guys are in the same position as middle inning relief pitchers in baseball. Nobody goes to the ballpark to see the middle relief pitchers. But we blues lovers, we need to be applauding these guys--because every day that goes by BB and Buddy and Hubert and Honeyboy are all one day older and closer to leaving us. Someday soon the top rank of living bluesmen is going to be Bernard Allison and Big Bill Morganfield and Corey Harris and Albert Castiglia, and when that day comes Rocky and Chainsaw and a dozen others just like 'em are going to be standing on that mound with the game depending on them, and they will be holding the ball.

If you love this music like I do, and you've loved it for over 40 years like I have, then seeing cds from Chainsaw Dupont and Rocky Jackson is a very good sign. These guys can play guitar pretty good, and they each front bands that sound good. Chainsaw and Rocky write good songs, and they sing pretty well. If pressed to choose I might say that Rocky is a tiny bit better singer, and Chainsaw is a tiny bit better guitar player. I think Rocky writes songs a tiny bit better, and I think he's a tiny bit more disciplined. Chainsaw has a little more marketing vibe going for him. (Yes, that is me listed on the inside cover among those Chainsaw would like to thank for their help. The only help I can give him is this review.) I would be very glad to go to my local blues venue and hear either one of them--and I urge everyone who reads this review to do the same. It'll be worth it to hear the joy in Chainsaw's voice when he rips into "Soul Check" and it'll be worth it to hear Rocky's solo on "Early In The Morning."

You can buy these cds at

1 comment:

stevepasek said...

Thanks for the plug, we appreciate the help getting the word out. However, I do want to note that the main reason Chainsaw covered Messin' is that he was Junior Wells' touring guitarist in the 90s, and it's his way of paying tribute to a star who opened some doors for him. He's put out 3 entirely original CDs prior to these 2 live ones, so the covers on the live titles were chosen precisely to pay tribute to Chainsaw's musical heroes.

Thanks also for the songwriting compliment -- as the collaborator / lyricist on many of these tunes (including 'Soul Check'), I'm flattered that you enjoyed them enough to note the original songwriting, in which we both take pride.

Hope that we can tour your way sometime soon,
Steve Pasek a/k/a MrBiG