Jimmy Thackery & the Drivers,
We Got It
(Telarc, 2002)

We Got It is the debut release on the Telarc label for Jimmy Thackery & the Drivers. This impressive recording pays tribute to the late Eddie Hinton, member of the famed Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, who passed away at the young age of 51. Thackery's gritty vocals, although no match to Hinton's raspy growl, seems quite reminiscent of the soulful intensity delivered by this legendary singer-songwriter. Eight of the eleven tracks honor Hinton's soulful style with deep respect from both Thackery and guest artists, the Cate brothers.

This latest effort by Thackery is loaded with R&B, soul and blues with that late '50s, early '60s feel, full of energy and emotion. The opening track, "My Searching Is Over," is Thackery's rockin' version of a Hinton tune, with some great sax work and guitar solos. It's a perfect selection to set the tone on this memorable recording. There are plenty of tracks worth mentioning, starting with, "It's All Wrong, But It's All Right," a slow tune blending doo-wop with a standard ballad style that can fill a dance floor. The title track, "We Got It," touches upon the gospel sound with great horns and gutsy vocals. The only instrumental track, "Blues Dog Prowl," is a Thackery original with a surfer sound that jams together sax and lead solos perfectly. "Blues For Sale" is a hip, sassy, number that really carries the Memphis sound.

One of my favorites is "Get Off In It," a slow, intense number with intimate overtones full of emotion. The album concludes the same way it began, with a Hinton classic, "Big Fat Woman." This light-hearted tune is upbeat, a danceable favorite highlighting Thackery's high-powered guitar licks.

The album is well produced, with an excellent mix of tunes that complement each other. The efforts heard from both Cate brothers, Ernie on keyboard and Earl on guitar, really add to the overall soulful sound, meshing well with Thackery and his band. My only issue with the album is the track "Super Lover," which doesn't fit with the other tracks and feels out of place. Another choice from the many Hinton tunes would probably have fit more easily with the overall flow of the album.

There's no doubt We Got It is a sincere, enjoyable tribute to the great Eddie Hinton. This latest effort from Thackery and the Drivers goes beyond being just a tribute. The album highlights the strength of Thackery as a musician, mixing a variety of musical styles with the blues. The result is a well-produced, contemporary blues recording that draws upon the soulful sounds of its past. Thackery certainly stayed true to his own style as a guitarist, both powerful and passionate, while knowing when to slow the pace down, just enough, to expand upon the emotions of the music. We Got It is an excellent album, and a great beginning for Thackery and the band towards a prosperous future with Telarc. I imagine this is just the first of many successful recordings we can look forward to from this popular electric blues powerhouse.

[ by Pamela L. Dow ]
Rambles: 18 August 2002

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