Had Michael Stanley and Cowboy made country rock like this, I'd still be listening to them instead of, as was the case, grimacing and setting off for the much more satisfying Heads, Hands & Feet or the Jump 'N The Saddle Band. In the 70s and early 80s, Jay Boy Adams toured with ZZ Top, Marshall Tucker, The Band, and a wealth of top names, then grew weary of the scene, disappearing into family and a tour bus business for two decades, not to resurface until the fluke of being asked on-stage, rediscovering his first love. That resulted in this.
Normally, I don't cotton to material this country based but Adams plays a damn tasty guitar, simple but brilliant, and crafts some catchy-as-hell tunes while doing consummate justice to others' materials (anyone who picks up Jesse Winchester's work is a-okay in my book). Catch for instance, his unbelievably righteous take on John the Revelator, a trad number here cooked up a la Taj Mahal and Dr. John, then hop over to the sadly balladic Bottle and the Bible, a down-home trailer-life lament with a killer middle eight, shortly stated but perfectly in tune with the downhearted sentiment, picking up gospelly organ and backing vocals to float the cut to its churchily heartached end.
Vocally, Adams reminds me of Philip Goodhand-Tait, not the heartiest of recommendations, but he does have a solidly good ol' boy tang, slipping into the boots, bolo, and beerhall swagger like a true son of the sod. Still, it's neither his voice nor his composing that's half so impressive as his playing. The guy has got to stick more of that electric guitar and slide into his repertoire, as his lines are worthy of a Billy Gibbons. Over all else, though, there's a surprising distillation of all eras of the country genre in this guy's work.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2007, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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