Hot and Spicy Blues

The Memphis Barbecue Sessions (MC Records)

Big Jack Johnson w/Kim Wilson and Special Guest Pinetop Perkins

By Robert Mohr

When I started listening to this acoustic album I thought Kim Wilson, of Fabulous Thunderbirds fame, was throwing an old bluesman a bone: After a couple of tunes, I threw my lawn chair into the truck and went over to Kingsley Meats on Taylorsville Road to soak in the barbeque, because that is what this butt-stompin' blues is all about.

The feel of this album is completely Memphis Barbeque. I could almost see an old-timer pull out a beat-up acoustic guitar and another a mouth harp as The Memphis Barbeque Sessions and the smoke wafted over me. Most of the tracks on this album were cut on the first or second take, which only adds to the original feel of the mostly cover tunes and standards with a few originals thrown in for good measure.

Big Jack Johnson picks a mean guitar throughout and Kim Wilson's harp playing is just as vital as you would care for. So is this what a harmonica sounds like slathered in barbeque sauce?