There’s a bad moon risin’ down the bayou with Handsome Jack, who resurrect 60/70s bluesy rock ‘n’ roll to perfection on this album.
Opener Keep On kicks things off: swampy blues guitar, tight drums and a voice so marinated in smokes and whisky it makes peak Rod Stewart sound like Walking In The Air era Aled Jones.
The opening lyrics are “Rolling up through Missoula (?) / Some folks think I committed a crime”, forcing the narrator to keep on ramblin’ like his papa; in the second song, City Girls, Anna from Louisiana takes all his money but forgets his name; just don’t call him lucky.
The homage to the art of Creedence Clearwater Revival is not constant: Baby Be Cool is bluesy but more like their real home city — New York — than their usual Southern drawl would suggest.
The sound is retro and raw — they’ll sound equally good live — but welcoming; they’re having fun and listeners would be churlish to do otherwise. The title track is wonderful, an over-the-top homage to seventies boogie bands, with way-down-deep vocals, flashy drum fills, huge bluesy riffs, lots of “oh yeahs” and handclaps.
It’s not new but they do it well, with energy and swagger. For fans of 60s/70s bluesy music from Memphis to Chicago, and from Creedence (and maybe even Lynyrd) to the Black Crowes.
Handsome Jack is Jamison Passuite (guitar/vocals), Joey Verdonselli (bass/vocals), and Bennie Hayes (drums/vocals).