J.T. Lauritsen and the Buckshot Hunters – Blue Eyed Soul Vol. 1 | Album Review

J.T. Lauritsen and the Buckshot Hunters – Blue Eyed Soul Volume 1

Hunters Records


CD: 10 Songs, 39:15 Minutes

Styles: Soul, Jazz-and-Soul-Influenced Blues

Soul and blues, on the surface, appear to be two different animals. One is light, the other dark. One is congenial, the other “mean,” as Stephen King characterizes it. One is loving; the other is lustful. One is meant to lighten, to lift up; the other is meant to channel feelings of hurt, rage, and betrayal. These two species seem to have nothing in common, but share an ancestor all the same. Its name is longing; what the Germans call sehnsucht, a form of being-sickness. On the surface, Blue Eyed Soul Volume 1, by Norway’s J.T. Lauritsen and the Buckshot Hunters, is all sweetness and light. Hearing certain songs, however, midnight blue seeps in and begins to take the place of azure. The balance and tension between the two is what makes this album so easy and enjoyable to listen to. It’s short but scintillating, elevating one’s mood instantly. J.T. and the Buckshot Hunters know not only how to bare their souls, but how to nourish ours, harmonic voices blending as seamlessly as ingredients in a smoothie. Over ten tracks, five originals and five covers, they feed us a musical feast that goes down easy.

According to his website, Jan Tore (J.T.) had his first paying gig at the age of 14, which resulted in a steady flow of jobs for him on the organ – his instrument of choice for many years. He was searching for his own style on the instrument, when he had to admit that a B3 Hammond was too heavy to lug from gig to gig. He thus compromised by taking up the accordion…In 1991, he started Buckshot Blues Band with the now well-known guitarist, Vidar Busk.

Alongside J.T. Lauritsen are the rest of the Buckshot Hunters: Ian Fredrick Johannessen on rhythm and solo guitars; Arnfinn Tørrisen on rhythm and solo guitars; Jon Grimsby on drums, percussion and backing vocals, and Morten Nordskaug on bass and backing vocals. Special guest stars include Mike Zito on rhythm and solo guitars; Dave Fields on backing vocals, rhythm and solo guitars; Paul Wagnberg on Hammond B3 organ; Børge-Are S. Halverson on baritone and tenor saxophone; Jens-Petter Antonsen on trombone and trumpet; Ronny Agren on backing vocals, and Deanna Bogart and Jimmy Carpenter on tenor saxophone.

The following three songs are catchier than a cold, and are perfect for trying to recover from one.

Track 02: “Back Pain Shuffle” – Okay, this short ditty is about a different ailment, but Lauritsen wants fellow sufferers to know he feels their pain. “My back is killing me, my baby, but my love is treating me good. The pain is like the Devil, but I’m stronger than him,” he comments. If there’s one thing you’ll dig, and even dance to, it’s the wicked guitar solo by Dave Fields.

Track 09: “Be My Girl” – With Lauritsen’s best vocals and the hottest of the horn section’s offerings on hand, number nine has a naughty twist: “We can try to be strong if she don’t let me down – on a circle of fire, on a circle of fire.” Johnny Cash would certainly agree.

Track 10: “Sweet On Me” – The album’s closer is a bittersweet Mike Zito cover featuring Zito himself on rhythm guitar. “Loving you ain’t what it used to be,” J.T. laments. “Sometimes you just let me be…I’d rather have you sweet on me.”

Blue Eyed Soul Volume 1 will leave soul-blues fans ravenous for the sequel!

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