Some of these songs take their blues cues direct from the source of the vintage sound of Chicago while others borrow from American rock bands who created an interesting way to split the blues atom for rock and roll purposes. “Takin’ My Time” and “Lover’s Touch” both mine the essential Willie Dixon songbook, the former using his unmistakable stop-time riff while the former has shades of “The Same Thing,” a song most famously associated with Muddy Waters.
On “First Flash Of Freedom,” Campbell summons the spirit of Dickey Betts and the Allman Brothers Band creating that distinct twin twang of Gibson guitars. The Allmans are again summoned on “Let Yourself Go,” this time owing to way Benmont Tench recreates Gregg’s jazzy organ style beneath more great lead guitar from Campbell. “I Should Have Known It” would have sounded right at home on Aerosmith’s titanic, bloozy Rocks, boasting shrieking leads that would make Joe Perry and Brad Whitford envious.
There is one small downside to the Mojo approach. The motto that served The Heartbreakers so well for so many years yielded great hooks aplenty and some of the most memorable singles in FM radio history. This is a fantastic record on so many levels but it lacks the great singalong moments we’re so accustomed to on a Heartbreakers record, a sad casualty but a small price to pay for a record that is consistently and continually satisfying. Mojo is tough to place within the Heartbreaker discography. It stands apart from everything they’ve done which is an impressive achievement in and of itself for a band entering their fourth decade together. That they sound so damn good doing it- well, that’s not a surprise either.