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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Smokin' Joe Kubek at Callahan's April 25

Sometimes it's all you can do just to get to the gig. Van trouble and an hour earlier time change are just two of the pitfalls to hitting the road. It takes patience, work, and-these days-plenty of gas money to get anywhere. So by the time Smokin' Joe and company hit the stage at Callahan's, they were ready to play. The workman-like approach to the art of performing seemed to serve the band well. Featuring guest guitarist Jimmy Thackery, the Smokin' Joe Kubek Band with B'Nois King did what they could to liven-up an otherwise sleepy Sunday night in suburban Detroit-and it paid off for everybody. It was no secret Thackery was at the club the night before, hence an invite to stick around and play. Thackery took in all the latitude that Kubek afforded. Thackery is a tasteful guitarist by far. His presence was much anticipated. In a pleasant surprise was how well these guitar players--including King--fit together. Many times on slide guitar rather than straight lead, Kubek unfolded a steady perusal through his 20-year catalog. Featured were the songs "Texas Cadillac," "Burn One Down," and "I Saw It Coming." The latter featured the sweet vocals of B'Nois King. Enough cannot be said about the front man talents King commands, or about the way he approaches his job. King never loses focus that the audience is always a part of the show, engaging them even while a guitar tuning takes a little too long. It was hard to believe that this was only bassist Patrick Recob's (Kansas City MO) fourth gig with these guys. But it hardly showed-even for a live recording. King pitched a new CD on Alligator records due this spring. Sure there was the van break-down outside Rock Island IL a day-and-a-half earlier. Then there was the hour time change back east that inadvertently slipped by everyone. But Kubek and his band showed poise all the while, later rewarding themselves with a pint of Ben & Jerry's.

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