Mojo Place Records
Hailing from central Illinois, Jerry Lee Gingery and his Juju Kings have produced a CD of all original music with a swinging, rocking blues beat. The Juju Kings are Gingery on vocals, bass, lead and rhythm guitars, Eddie Narakas on lead and rhythm guitars, Robert Aguilera Jr. on drums and “Timothy “Doc” Romanowski on piano, organ, clavinet and accordion. Mark Klak does the digital trickery and sound enhancements here and there, too. Jerry and Doc do backing vocals along with Susan Williams and Karen Brault. Brandon Santini sits in on harp for a half dozen tracks to add some of his spice to the mix.
Let’s look at the cuts with Brandon on them first. “Something’s Wrong” is quite down and dirty blues while “Must Have Been Blind’ has big, dramatic solos on harp and guitar. Good stuff. “Rich Man Blues” is an interesting lyrical cut with souls being sold to the devil because he’s too poor to pay his dues. Big, stinging guitar work abounds in this one. “Life Goes On” changes it up and is stripped down, front porch blues. Cindy Altenberger adds some washboard to make it sound even more authentic. “Hop Skip and a Jump” is a bouncy piece with a cool interplay with accordion and harp. “Sorry For Myself” is the other cut with Santini and it’s driving, straight up front blues.
The other half of the CDs has the Juju Kings unaccompanied. “Whiskey Train opens the album. The organ plays a larger role here and is featured along with Gingery’s guitar. Who doesn’t like train songs and drinkin’ songs? It’s fun and drives to a good beat. The title track features the girls and Doc prominently backing Gingery along with some nice piano work by Doc. Gingery does a good job on guitar and the lead vocals which he shares in a sort of call and response. “B&B By The Sea” is a rock ballad of sorts and Gingery and guest organist Richard “RJ” Westrick interplay together. “Mae Bea Sweet Baby” is a straight up blues love song. “Tired Of Messin’ With You” opens with a big guitar solo and then the vocals, bass and organ bleat out the beat and lyrics in a bouncy mix. The girls back Jerry as he sings of his failing relationship. Lots more guitar follows. “Daddy’s Song” closes things out. It’s a mix of blues and cowboy country in a sad little tome about Daddy’s passing Gingery sings and is solely accompanied by guitar. Introspective and thoughtful, it’s a sad but cool closer to an otherwise more upbeat set of songs. He must be singing about his own Dad as the album is loving dedicated to his Dad, Harold “Spike” Gingery, who passed in 2007.
It was interesting to contrast the half of the album with harp against the other half. Both had good songs and it was interesting hearing the mix of harp on one half versus more keyboard on the other half (minus the last cut). Gingery is a good songwriter, singly penning 10 songs and jointly writing on the other two. His guitar is solid as are his vocals. The mixes are good and the album was a fun listen. If you like blues with a little hint of a twang mixed in with traditional blues and rock, you’ll enjoy this CD.