That's not to slight Hill's own electric guitar work (listen to the smoking solos on "Big Drops of Trouble" and "Blackwater Wildlife"), the fine fiddle work by Patrick McAvinue, and the contributions from the rest of Hill's Long Gone Daddys and guest artists. The duet vocals with New York's own Monica Passin on "The Time I'll Ever Go Away" makes for an affectingly sad closer and a welcome variation in the color of the sound. Though I found a couple of the slower tracks less than inspiring, this is overall a winning, feel-good album with a fair deal of toe-tapping goodness.
Papa Juke, Out of the Blues
Colorado's Papa Juke delivers raw, good-time, catchy blues which at its best bubbles with an effervescent energy that merits the band's own term for their music: Juke. The punchy "Never Lost Love" leads into the monotonous "Sizzle," which is that droning sort of song that probably works better live than on disc. But such flagging moments are few. "Well Babe" echoes the old chestnut "I Ain't Got You," but the singing sound a bit tired; Christine Webb provides more soulful vocals for the energetic "Love Ladder," a raw danceable number that brings to mind something Big Brother and the Holding Company might have done in their early days with Janis Joplin.
Even the way the instruments and voices were recorded suggests the flat-but-tasty sound of 1960s blue-eyed blues. The rest of the disc continues in the same vein; "Grocery Store" yanks back "Willie and the Hand Jive" into a straight-ahead beat, "Delivery Man" delivers a bluesy sexual message as a satisfyingly dirty guitar-boogie, "Never Enough" is a rootsy funk number, and so on. The sheer sense of fun, almost palpable, shimmers through Papa Juke's joyful throwback music.