Monday, March 21, 2011
Black Bone child - Alligator - 2009.
Smokin’ hot blues rock Texas-style! That’s the best description for Black Bone Child’s release Alligator. Hailing from Austin, the quartet known as Black Bone Child continues to impress. These guys do blues rock, blues rock, and more blues rock, so don’t expect anything but old school music with a modern twist. Alligator is a part of their latest release, a plugged-in album that is a companion to their all acoustic CD Take You Blind. Alligator is what the blues should be – simple, basic music with a great overall groove that will get you moving.
Black Bone Child plugged in and recorded Alligator as if they were playing a live show – as a result there is a great deal of natural warmth and liveliness to the music. There is no hint of electronic trickery or studio induced sterility, just the basics – a little raw at times but that suits the music pefectly. These guys play from the heart and obviously love doing it. Masterminded by Donny James and Kenneth M. (who teamed up to do all the songwriting, producing and engineering as well as playing lead guitar, bass and doing vocals), BBC’s “live” configuration is completed by rhythm guitarist Jason king and drummer Steve Hudson.
“Run Away” opens the disc in fine blues-rock style with a thick, heavy groove, fine guitar work and a chorus that will have you singing along before the song plays out the first time through. “Be Your Man” pounds at you with some solid drumming, killer vocals and biting guitars. “You Oughta Know” keeps the energy up, but this track is more of a vocal showpiece, giving the boys a chance to really stretch their vocal chords and grind one out. The infectious kicky groove of “Baby Baby” thickens the BBC sound with the additions of great blues harmonica and a smokin’ hot guitar solo (BBC did an all acoustic version of this track on Take You Blind, and that one seems to come across a little better as a pure acoustic). “Little Bird” is the blues and nothing but the blues – great vocals, rough and gritty guitars and a hooky rhythm line – perfectly engineered and executed. “True Love Too Late” is a great bouncy track with a great sing-along chorus that will have any old school rocker stomping his/her feet and clapping hands to the beat (this track is the epitome of dance-able rock without being the least bit “pop” or commercial).
“Turn It Up” is simply a lively celebration of music – almost has a Rolling Stones feel to it. “The Flames Are Warm” is another track that BBC also put on Take You Blind, but in this case the “plugged-in” version of the song seems to work better than the acoustic. Gritty guitars and great harmonica highlight this somewhat slower track, but the intensity is high throughout. “What I Know Ain’t Right” is mixed tempo rocker with strong vocals, while “This Disease” slows everything down, broods a bit and provides some of the slickest guitar work on the album. The CD finishes with “Devil’s Teeth,” a funky-grooved track with an amazing rhythm line and a solid solo.
On the whole, Alligator is a blues-rock dream. Thick guitars, smokey bar room sound, and foot-stomping grooves make this a joy to hear. The performances are top-notch and enthusiastic across the board, the songwriting is tight and the intensity is high, a real barn-burner.
Any fan of the blues or old school blues-rock will love this disc. Black Bone Child’s music is pure, simple and direct – just the way it is supposed to be. While this album may not have huge appeal beyond blues fans, there is no doubt that the members of BBC are talented and enthusiastic. When you consider that BBC also did their own production and engineering, the pairing of Alligator and Take You Blind provides a devastating one-two punch that these proves these guys to be truly up-and-coming.
The only downside of Alligator is that it ends way too soon…
Donny James (lead vocals, guitar)
Kenneth M (vocals, bass)
Steve Hudson (drums)
Jason King (guitar)
1. Run Away
2. Be Your Man
3. You Oughta Know
4. Baby Baby
5. Little Bird
6. True Love Too Late
7. Turn It Up
8. The Flames Are Warm
9. What I Know Ain’t Right
10. This Disease
11. Devil’s Teeth
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mp3 256 kbps - 52 mb