Bobby Mack – Texas Guitar Highway Man | Album Review

bobbymackcdBobby Mack –¬†Texas Guitar Highway Man

BMS Music

11 songs time-48:02

Having grown up in the Dallas-Forth Worth, Texas music seen since 1970, Bobby brought his music to Austin, Texas in 1972 and became a house regular at the legendary Antone’s rubbing shoulders with the likes of Albert Collins, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, Luther Allison and many other giants of the blues. He definitely possesses a hard Texas attack in his guitar playing that is chock full of bent notes. At times you can detect traces of Stevie Ray Vaughn in his husky vocal delivery. It is never mimicry, but the natural quality of his voice. He is backing is the usual bass-drums-keyboards with occasional female vocals by Lisa Marshall. Nothing over produced here. All but two songs are originals.

The title song eventually grew on me although the lyrics were a bit ordinary. But things pick up quickly. The comparison to SRV’s voice is first on “Borrowed Time” as he stretches out his phrasing. His guitar playing relies more on blistering single-note runs, squeezing out every bit of Texas soul. The SRV vibe continues on “Pourin’ Rain” with the plaintive quality of Bobby’s vocal. This tune is put on slow simmer with a melancholy feel. Things get cookin’ on the jumpin’ good-time “Doin” Alright” that features Mark Goodwin’s honky-tonk piano. The vocals are looser by now.

Bobby coaxes all the feeling he can muster out of his guitar on “Heart Of A Lonely Man”, another slow burner. He whips out some smoldering slide guitar against a loping beat on “A Matter Of Time”. Bobby bravely takes on a song that is considered one of his fellow Texas guitar slinger’s Freddie King’s signature songs. Although I’m used to King’s more powerful delivery, Bobby and band come out the other end of “Palace Of The King” with a fine version. He doesn’t make any attempt to mimic Freddie’s guitar style, relying on his own adequate skills.

The “Bo Diddley Beat” is put to good use on the rollicking “Pumpkin Pie”…fun from beginning to end. “Fender Bender” is just what the name implies, a guitar note bending orgy. What are Texas blues without a hard-drinking party song? “Steppin’ Out” delivers the goods and then some.

The Texas guitar blues tradition is in good hands here. Bobby more then holds his own as a rockin’ Texas blues man. The band of Kelly Donnelly on bass, Mark Goodwin on keyboards, Matt Ryan and Roddy Colonna on drums, Brandon Aly on percussion and Lisa Marshall on backing vocals are as fine a band you are likely to hear. Kelly Donnelly and Jim Gaines are responsible for the first-rate production values. A mixture of harder and softer songs make this a fine listening experience.

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