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Son Jack Jr & Michael Wilde - Walk The Talk

Self produced

43mins 23 secs

Son Jack Jr was born and brought up in the UK. He left in 1997 and around that time he decided to revive a musical career that had been dormant for 20 years. In the ‘70s and ‘80s he had recorded, performed and toured extensively in the UK. Wise move. Since the renascence he has recorded three albums, all of which have been well accepted and this one will expand his fan base and may even win some awards.

Here Mr Jack is working with harp man Michael Wilde and a small band; Mark Davies (b) and Billy Barner (d) with ‘special guest’ Eric Robert (keys). The CD consists of 12 tracks many of which were written by Jack or Wilde. But the album includes covers of music by John Lee Hooker, Charley Patton and R.L. Burnside (twice!)

I’ll come back to the covers in a moment, but first let me say that some of the self-penned songs are just terrific. For example, the wonderful emotional and controlled solo that opens ‘Crying Time’ (written by Wilde) is just outstanding. In addition the harp playing on that track (chromatic, I think) is an exemplar for any aspiring blues harmonica players. Check out too the title track “Walk The Talk” a ‘walking blues’ with a vengeance! Try keeping your feet still while this is on the CD player.

This CD is a nice mix of originals and covers. Often, CDs that fall through my letter box, by bands on the edge of ‘making it’ are all covers or all originals. Now, I can understand why folks want to push their own stuff and I can equally well understand how some people want to recognize, laud and promote the music of people they admire and seek to emulate. But when it is ALL original it is almost impossible (unless you know the musician from live performances or some such) to judge how they think about the music of others who have inspired them.

The major strength of this CD is that the covers tell you ‘how deep is the love’ that these musicians have for their Delta roots. An accomplished acoustic player Son Jack Jr has some strenuous workouts here on electric guitar including slide (‘Miss Maybelle’ is enough to make the dead get up and dance). All in all, this could be work by folks born and raised in the Delta or the Mississippi Hill country, rather than by an ex-pat Brit and a bunch of musicians from Seattle.

Some nice finger-clicking music that will make your feet tap and satisfy your soul. Recommended.

Reviewer Ian McKenzie lives in England. He is the editor of Blues In The South ( a monthly flier providing news, reviews, a gig guide and all kinds of other good stuff, for people living and going to gigs along the south coast of England. Ian is also a blues performer (see and has a web cast regular blues radio show on www.phonic.FM  in Exeter (Wednesdays: 1pm Eastern/ 12 noon Central, 10am Pacific).

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