Sunday, November 21, 2010

“Testify!” - Rocky Jackson (High Life Records)

By Malcolm Kennedy 

Testify!, the follow up to  Rocky Jackson's critically acclaimed 2006 Squeeze Here CD on High Life Records, opens with a slow but driving take on the Muddy Waters classic: "I Just Want to Make Love to You." As with the other four covers on the record, Jackson completely reworks it to great effect with basically only the lyrics remaining. Jackson's satisfying vocals and expert guitar playing are featured throughout with Eliot Witherspoon-drums on all but the solo track, Joel T Johnson-bass on 10 tracks, and Michael Fell adds exceptional blues harp, too.

On the original (one of eight) "Don't Say Nothin'," Rocky imparts sage advice as he sings: 'don't say nothing if you don't know what you're talking about.' On "Big Legs Don't Mean Fat," he sings: 'a fine long leg is where it's at,' and then on "Chicken-legged Woman" he's singing 'don't want no chicken-legged woman hanging 'round my door, you know that chicken-legged woman ain't got no soul' as he accompanies himself on acoustic slide guitar. "Like Magic" lives up to its title recalling ZZ Top's "Fool For Your Stockings" done as a languid harp fueled burner and is one of the stand out tracks on Testify! although there isn't a clunker in the 13 track set.

Squeeze Here received international radio airplay, and Testify! is following in its tracks getting play across the US, Canada, Europe from Italy to Finland, Norway to Poland, England, Australia, Argentina and more. One of the bands he was in backed Johnny Dyer on several occasions. Rocky Jackson is the real deal and Testify! bears that out. Hard-hittin', soulful Blues with stinging guitar, powerful vocals, and interesting lyrics, delivered Texas-style with roots in the Delta and Chicago.

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