This is the fifth disc by Jim Suhler & Monkey Beat, his longtime band, and this disc pushes his brand of Texas roots/rock/blues a bit further. First thing though is the title, Tijuana Bible? … one of those old time pornographic comic books that generally lampoons anyone famous (and there are myriad stories as to where the title comes from). If at times his guitar playing sounds familiar it is because has played guitar for George Thorogood for the past nine years. However, here he shows a much more definite interest in the Blues without ever losing that roots feel, nor his use of technique to further his playing. This disc clocks in at 71-plus minutes and has 13 new Suhler original songs which range from funny and erudite to grandiloquent barroom—instant classics. The other three are by Elvin Bishop, who makes a guest appearance, Rory Gallagher, and AC/DC. Jim Suhler & Monkey Beat have been touring and recording for years and they sound it, they are tight and have a feel for the songs that lets them show the songs to their best advantage. On this disc they open the doors and bring in a few 'named' friends, the aforementioned Elvin Bishop adds his slide guitar on the tune he penned, Drunken Hearted Boy, Joe Bonamassa adds some lead guitar on Deep Water Lullaby, Jimmy Hall (Wet Willie) adds backing vocals on Po' Lightnin'. This is one of those bands that you don't always hear of because of the state of radio these days and yet they offer up a good, varied and solid mix of music based on musicianship and solid songwriting. Through solid touring, mostly in their native Texas, they manage to give us some interesting new music periodically and this is one of those good times discs that provides a lot of it.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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