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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Eli Cook

Ace, Jack & King

Review by Gary Hill

While Eli Cook is billed essentially as a blues artist, his music goes a lot further than just the blues. You are likely to hear stoner rock here along with psychedelia and other forms of music. Of course, it’s all delivered with a real foot in the blues.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Death Rattle

As this comes in, it feels like a cross between a slide blues sound and space rock. It drops back after the introduction, though, to a percussion dominated old-school blues jam that’s quite tasty and rather unique. As it continues it somehow wanders closer to a modern rock territory while still retaining the blues.

Better Man
This is a fairly short cut that’s closer to a pure old school blues approach. It’s a good tune, but not as interesting or adventurous as the opener.
Please, Please
Coming in stripped down with just guitar serving as the backdrop for the vocals, this is seriously an old-time blues treatment.
Snake Charm
Here’s a real change of pace. Imagine Clutch jamming with some serious blues artist. You’ll have a good idea of what this number sounds like. It’s definitely in a modern hard rock (almost stoner metal) genre, but the real blues is not forsaken by any means.
Catfish Blues
There’s definitely a down home texture to this blues number. It’s got modern production concepts and some modern elements in play, but overall really feels old school.
Draggin' My Dogs

Bouncy and fun, this combines an old school blues sound with a modern alternative rock element. It’s a lot of fun.

Afrossippi Breakdown
Acoustic guitar and vocals make up the concept of this old school blues tune.
Sugar and Rain
There’s definitely more of a modern alternative rock texture to this piece, but it still retains plenty of blues.
Driftin'
Slow moving, hard-edged blues is on hand here. There’s a lot of rock in the mix, too, but this overall a fairly mellow tune.
Cocaine Blues
This cut is delivered in a real back porch, old time blues arrangement.
Crowjane
Here’s another that calls to mind Clutch just a bit. It’s also rather like some of the really bluesy hard edged tunes Led Zeppelin used to do. It’s a killer track.
Suicide King
The comparisons to Led Zeppelin are even more appropriate here with this feeling like something from the third album on the early sections. It works out from there into an almost space rock meets jam band approach at points. It still returns to the mellower modes as it continues. The chorus section feels a bit repetitive.
Black Eyed Dog
There’s really not a lot of blues here. This is sort like a mellow psychedelic jam that feels like something Jefferson Airplane would have done. It gets turned into an energized jam from there and Led Zeppelin (or more specifically Page and Plant) become more the order of the day. But it makes it back to the mellower section that at times also makes me think of The Doors’ “The End.”
Death Rattle (Slight Return)
The opening cut is given a real rock treatment on a version that’s part Clutch and part Stone Temple Pilots.
 
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