The Juke Hounds
Low Man On The Totem Pole
BluesWax Rating: 3 out of 10
Sometimes You Need A Road Map
When you consider the numerous bands out there to listen to, you need to make a statement to have your first album heard. In the liner notes The Juke Hounds talk about an uplifting side of the blues. Maybe the happy blues doesn’t sound that good on paper to me, but blues is an uplifting music no matter how you play it. I do give these guys credit for trying something different on paper.
The Hounds fought through the Cleveland Blues Society in 2010 to win a trip to the International Blues Competition in Memphis the following year. These guys have the competitive chops to take their mission to the next level. The IBCs and a first CD are no small rungs on the ladder.
This album did not jump out at me. Most of the songs are pretty straightforward songs that appear to be common in the blues world today. The song that sounded the most like what they were going after was the up-tempo butt-rocker “Bang Bang.” It’s got an infectious boogie groove to move along with.
One thing that confuses me on this album is when they are making “happy” blues they write a song called “Nothin’s Turned Out.” It’s a song about just that, nothing right or going in your favor. There is no positive spin to it lyrically; it’s just one of those songs that doesn’t fit into their mode. The song goes against the grain of the rest of the album and lyrically is out of place. The music is also nothing to turn your ear to, so it doesn’t scream for extra attention.
Now my big gripe on the album was when the album was getting to the end and I heard “Them Changes” start up. I’ll maybe forgive for one over-recorded song if it’s a good version, but this is nothing special. Then came the deal breaker on this album. They closed with “Dust My Broom.” Yes, it’s a classic, but handle with care. This version could be saved for the bandstand to fill in between other songs, but not on your first album. And please don’t leave me with this in my mouth as the last thing I taste when the disc stops.
For a ten-song set and eight originals these guys have a basis to shoot off of. I do like that about The Juke Hounds. They need to focus on that and really stick to that. Otherwise they sound like a lot of other bands out playing blues at the moment. The only way to get better is to put the time into a project and believe in it, as long as those two facts stay intact then a second CD should be in the future.
Kyle M. Palarino is a contributing editor at BluesWax.
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