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Album Review

Electric blues fans flock to Jimmy Thackery to hear his fiery guitar, and tolerate his serviceable but far from thrilling gruff vocals. So, the compilers of this Blind Pig-era (six albums from 1992-2000) collection wisely stuck with all instrumental cuts. While that doesn't adequately summarize his career during this time, it sure makes for a dazzling disc displaying Thackery's sizzling six-string prowess. Although it is compiled predominately of previously released material (along with three unreleased live tracks), and these tunes are certainly among his best, by avoiding the "Greatest Hits" tag Blind Pig makes it easy to zero in on Thackery's most incendiary guitar showcases. Using his stripped down Drivers backing band generally comprised only of bass and drums, allows the guitarist plenty of room to strut his no-nonsense rockin' blues. From the speedy "Hang Up & Drive," to the lumbering power of nearly nine minutes of Roy Buchanan's "Roy's Blutz" and the Dick Dale-styled surf-twang of "Apache," there is no doubt that Thackery is a wildly talented player who effortlessly turns up the heat on his fretboard shenanigans. Whether shuffling around "All About My Girl" or swinging into the jump blues of "Jump for Jerry" (with Jimmy Carpenter's scorching tenor sax), or bopping through "Burford's Bop," Thackery shows he's no one-trick pony by fluently switching musical gears as easily as he slides down the neck of his instrument. Slow blues lovers will slobber over his tasty work on "Blues 'Fore Dawn" and the live "Edward's Blues," but it's on the John Lee Hooker riff of the album closing "Jimmy's Detroit Boogie" (think ZZ Top's "La Grange," but not as grungy) where Thackery pulls out all the stops in a tour de force that intensifies throughout its six minutes. Sure there's plenty of Stevie Ray Vaughan-type gymnastics here, but the guitarist's obvious talents and fire-shooting licks will cause even the most jaded blues rockers to admit that this guy delivers the goods. A skimpy pamphlet with lackluster liner notes (there is no indication which album the tracks are from) doesn't diminish this disc's non-stop intensity.


Born: 19 May 1953 in Pittsburgh, PA

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Singer, songwriter, and guitar virtuoso Jimmy Thackery carved an enviable niche for himself in the world of electric blues. Known for his gritty, blue-collar approach and marathon live shows, Thackery was for many years part of the Nighthawks, one of the hardest-working blues bar bands in North America. By the late '80s, he was touring and recording under his own name, and finding widespread acceptance on the festival circuit. His hard-edged, tough-as-nails approach to guitar playing and his trio's...
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Guitar, Jimmy Thackery
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