14 tracks/52 minutes
Kyle Jester offers up fourteen cool and fun tracks that showcase his talents along with the talents of his supporting cast. Kid Andersen on bass, Brian “Nucci” Cantrell on drums, Aki Kumar on harp, and Sid Morris on piano swing, jump and jive as Jester lays out some classy vocals and guitar. Kid Andersen recorded, engineered and mastered the album and the sound is cool- he’s create a classic blues and early rock sound! The sound transports us back 50 to 60 years to a time when music ruled the airwaves and bands traveled from town to town impressing the youth of America with their wares.
Originally from San Diego and playing in the southern California area, Jester was weaned on all the acts touring the area. He became part of Candye Kanes’ band and after a five year stint with her he moved to Chicago to support his wife as she attended medical school. He took a break from music but did spend a year with Perry Weber and the Devilles from Milwaukee. He recalls the time and his playing with Jim Liban and Gerry Hundt which he said, “Was super cool.” Now it’s seven years later he’s back in California (Bay Area) and he apparently has not missed a beat!
He begins with Eddie Taylor’s “You’ll Always Have A Home.” The guitar and harp lead into a great little boogie with an almost rockabilly feel to it. As Jester began singing about his baby with “hair as long as his right arm” I was sold after just a few bars. He sings extremely well, the guitar is impeccable and the band is totally solid. Ahmet Ertegan’s “Whatcha Gonna Do” swings like it’s 1958 with Jester and his backing vocalist harmonizing and the sweet guitar sounds. They get into a great groove with the keys and hand claps and even I felt like dancing! “Drive It Home” is a Snooks Eaglin cut and Jester nails it. The vocals are spot on as he wails and Kumar’s harp punctuates the vocals nicely. Jester of course solos and it is solid as he is throughout. Professor Longhair makes an “appearance” in Hadacol Bounce” and we get a little New Orleans swing flavor to savor. Very cool cover with great piano in the mix! “Big Fat Wallet” follows, the first of two originals. The piano goes full barrel house style s Jester’s guitar effort goes back and forth with Morris.
Snooky Pryor’s “You Tried to Ruin Me” and it’s time for more harp along with some great blues vocals. “Ace of Spades” is an old O.V. Wright (Don Robey) song that Jester gives new life to. Thoughtful, soulful and cool- Jester really has some chops! The Lee Baker (Guitar Jr.) tune “Knocks Me Out” takes us back to Memphis with another swinging groove. Great piano, guitar and vocals again! “Number Nine Train” (Bobbie Robinson, aka Tarheel Slim) gets moved into the rockabilly realm with this cover. Jester’s interpretations are really well done! “How Can You Be So Mean” by Johnny Ace hails from 1955 but songs fresh as a daisy as Jester spins it his way. Kumar’s harp and his gritty vocals make this great and then Jester gives us a huge and ringing guitar solo to suck up and love.
The other original is a sultry “After All This” where Jester picks out some sweet guitar and then sings lovingly to his woman. The Don Dally Orchestra adds to the mood with strings and a full sound to make another special cut for us! “BB Boogie” lets Jester give us his interpretation of Lucille and Mssr. King’s classic. The song rocks as he and the band lay out the boogie so well. The piano really makes this one over the top. Lester Butler’s “No Fightin'” is very west coast and Jester pays homage to the Red Devils of two decades past. The harp is amazing here and Jester is just right there in the mix, making this just another outstanding cut. The wrap up cut is Jerry “Boogie” McCain’s “Turn Your Damper Down.” Dirty harp, a little distortion on the vocals and mix and some super musical effort and we have another great cut!
This a a swinging albums of blues with enough variety and spice to keep even the fussiest of blues fans interested. Jester offers up some fine performances on originals and covers alike, having chosen a superb set of songs to cover and interpret for us. He is entertaining and the musicianship is excellent. I really enjoyed this CD a lot and I think blues fans all over will also really appreciate it! This is a no-holds-barred fantastic album that you must own!