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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Tenry Johns

The King Kong Rocker-In Here Tonight

Review by Gary Hill

Far too often the blues can come across as generic and lacking in variety. There are few artists who manage to pull off a form of the style that is based in a traditional vein and is still varied enough to entertain. There are even less who do that and make it fun. Tenry Johns is just such a man. With this CD he has combined classic blues stylings with rock and roll and even jazzy modes to create a sound that is quite varied and fun. There are some lesser, more generic moments, but overall Johns seems to know how to change it up enough to keep the music fresh. If you are a fan of high-energy blues, especially with a traditional core, then by all means you should give this one a listen.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2003 Year Book Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
In Here Tonight
With a wailing harmonica at the start, this is jumping, high-energy blues. Although an original, it feels quite traditional in its flavor and features a killer harmonica solo.
Wave Bye Bye
This one is a bit slower a feels looser. It's still quite traditional in its texture, but the horns add an almost Dixieland texture at times. Overall, though, this is more blues of the high-energy variety.
Rockin And Rollin In the USA
Appropriately enough, this one reflects the rock and roll side of the blues a bit more. It is a definite toe-tapper, and the guitar work on this one is particularly tasty. It also features a great honky-tonk piano solo.
Trust Me
This one feels a bit like "The Thrill Is Gone". The cut is one of the standouts of the disc, and is very near blues perfection. The guitar, the vocals, the horns and the overall song structure all complement each other very well, and elevate this track to some exceptional heights. This one should put Johns on every blues fans' list. The guitar solo on this one is killer.
Just Like You
A very traditional, dare I say "old school", blues cut, this one is another that features a healthy dose of harmonica. The main melody here is closely related to "Mannish Boy". It's solid, but just a little too generic.
Dirty Old Man
The first cover cut on the CD, this one is a classic rockin' blues number, and Johns definitely does it justice.
You And Me
This is another where the horns at times have the drunken looseness of Dixieland, but this is overall another solid blues song. It also comes across as a bit generic at times, though.
True Love
Now, this is more like it. Although very traditional, this one just cooks. It's another standout track has an awesome texture.
Can't Go On This Way
Another cover, this one has just a bit of a twang to it, but it's a slow blues delivered with style.
Let The Good Times Roll
Feeling more like swing than blues, this cover really smokes. It's quite definitely traditional, and equally fun.
 
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