The Rev. Jimmie Bratcher is a real preacher who often performs and ministers in prisons when not playing the clubs, but there’s no preaching on this CD: just great, honest, thoroughly enjoyable blues-rock.
Most of the songs are originals, including the first track, “Jupiter and Mars,” which was written by Bratcher and his son, Jason. It is a Southern blues with some heat to it and some very tasty slide guitar.
There are two notable covers, though: a fine version of John D. Loudermilk’s classic “Tobacco Road” and an interesting, very different take on The Association’s “Never My Love.” This one skips the harmonies in favor of an honest, heartfelt, and unadorned outpouring of committed love.
All of the original songs here are strong lyrically and musically. “57″ is a funky ode to the Shure SM57 microphone, which has a long history with rock and roll. That’s a fact only musicians would probably know if Bratcher didn’t tell us so in the notes.
“Feels Like Friday” has a jazzy feel to it and reminds me a great deal of such Southern rock groups as the Marshall Tucker Band back in the late ’60s and early ’70s. “It Just Feels Right” is a sweet love song which Bratcher says was written for his wife, Sherri. She’s a lucky woman.
“Check Your Blues at the Door” is a fine Texas shuffle and a personal favorite of this reviewer’s along with “Bologna Sandwich Man,” another Texas blues with a two-step vibe, some great slide guitar, and a lot of humor. It is reminescent of Lyle Lovett and that is always a good thing.
“Nowhere to Go But Down” has some great chugging bass by Craig Kew that gives it a very vintage blues-rock feel, and that feeling continues into “When I Fall Apart,” a song about getting older but not without a fight. “I Can’t Shake That Thing” is funky and cool, with some great blues riffs. “Starting All Over Again” rounds out the CD with a blues-rock ballad that is an ode to second chances.
Overall, this is a positive, cool, and thoroughly enjoyable CD that any fan of blues-rock will enjoy. Bratcher says, “I went further back into my roots than on any of my other albums, back to a time before I became ‘The Rev.’”
You will enjoy that journey along with him.