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In The Natural State by Jimmy Thackery with The Cate Brothers

Guitarist/singer Jimmy Thackery is known to aficionados of contemporary electric blues as a former member of the legendary DC proto-blue-wavers the Nighthawks, but for the past several years he's been tilling his own acreage. Though Thackery knows urban blues backwards and forwards, he's no stodgy purist. He judiciously interlaces his blues with old-school soul/R&B and post-1966 rock and roll.

Note "Levee Prayer," where Thackery sings with a soulfully palpable world-weariness worthy of Southern deep-soul masters James Carr and Solomon Burke. Note his restraint, how he doesn't "strain" to be soulful and his wailing, smoldering guitar stings like new heartbreak, rich with bittersweet sustain recalling legendary stringbenders Albert King and Peter Green. "I'll Come Running Back To You" is the kind of mellow, sparse R&B with the tiniest tinge of country ballad at which Robert Cray and Earl Gaines excel so well. But fear not fans of that earnest Chicago style. JT does an elegantly snaking version of the Junior Wells chestnut "Hoodoo Man Blues." "Snatch It Back & Hold It" is the kind of warm-up-the-crowd, roosterish funky strut where JT gets to parade his chops.

While there's nothing "startling" here, aside for the delightfully matter-of-fact ease with which Thackery plays those sizzling, chunky licks, there's no excess or ham-fisted blather to be had, either, though "Howlin' For My Darling" does ramble a bit. The band sound and the recording quality overall is zesty and vibrant and the inspiration level is generally high. Thackery's singing warmly expressive and resolute. Fine stuff, this.... darn fine.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Jimmy Thackery with The Cate Brothers
  • CD Title: In The Natural State
  • Genre: Blues
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: Rykodisc
  • Rating: Four Stars
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