Every now and then a musical treasure arrives at my door. Not
long ago 2 such treasures arrived by the name of "When The Devil
Calls" and "Introducing...Son Jack Jr.", both courtesy of Son
Jack Jr., an amazingly talented player and singer of the Delta Blues. Fans of
the Delta Blues will quickly fall in love with the unique way Son Jack Jr.
offers his special interpretation of that style. "When The Devil
Calls" and "Introducing...Son Jack Jr." are both hypnotic in
nature, and will bring a smile to face and yes maybe even a tear in your eye,
especially Track 4 off of "When The Devil Calls", If I Should Fall.
"When The Devil Calls" and "Introducing...Son Jack Jr." are
a must have collection for any true fan of the Blues... John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)
REVIEW OF "When The Devil Calls" - Bluesletter, April 2008
From the opening notes of When the Devil Calls, the sophomore record from Son Jack Jr., one thing is evident: This guy can play.
The obvious influence of the prewar blues masters can be heard throughout the record, but Son Jack Jr. doesn’t really sound like any of them. He possesses a strong singing voice and his own distinct songwriting style.
Son Jack tends to pack more lyrics into his songs than did his prewar forebears. This rapid-fire approach works well on several songs, particularly the leadoff tracks, “I’m Son Jack Jr.” and “Dance of the Living Dead.” But Son Jack is at his most powerful when he leaves more room for his lyrics to breath, as on the moving “If I Should Fall.” When he allows his guitar to do all of the talking, as on the instrumental “The Lynching Tree,” the effect is hair-raising.
Most of the 13 tracks on When The Devil Calls are originals, and the three covers are well-chosen, particularly Son Jack’s take on Skip James’ “Devil Got My Woman.”
He experiments with various tempos and tunings throughout, resulting in a nicely varied record that avoids the slumber-inducing tendencies of too many solo acoustic albums.
For those in search of something both new and familiar at the same time, When the Devil Calls offers a fine solution. It’ll be interesting to see where Son Jack goes from here.
REVIEW OF "When The Devil Calls" - Blues To Do, March 2008
On his new album, local guitarist, songwriter, and singer Son Jack Jr. tackles three classic blues songs and adds ten of his own. Jack learned well at the feet of the blues masters at Centrum’s Country Blues workshops in Port Townsend. His finger picking and slide playing are clean, punchy, yet subtle on Skip James’s “Devil Got My Woman” and Blind Willie Johnson’s “Soul of a Man.” He pulls out all the humor on Eddie Vinson’s “Cleanhead Blues,” a rueful ode to the formerly hirsute—real roots music. (Judging from the picture on the CD, Jack is prematurely ribald.) His own tunes are tastefully played and well-conceived. “North Wind” features a kick-ass guitar part, while “It Could Be Worse” could’ve come from the fingers of Fred McDowell. The rocking “Dance of the Living Dead” will resonate with anyone who’s ever worked a stultifying high-tech office job. The standout on the album is “The Lynching Tree,” an atmospheric instrumental played in the open D-minor tuning associated with Skip James. From the evidence here, Jack knows how to compose and play; you’ll want to loop this on your Zune or iPod.
REVIEW OF “Introducing….Son Jack Jr.” - June 2007 - Bill Mattocks (www.billmattocksband.com)
My good friend Roy Brown introduced me to Son Jack Jr. at the April WBS meeting this year. I’ve had the pleasure of listening to his debut CD “Introducing….Son Jack Jr.” for the last two months. It features Son Jack playing twelve tracks of mostly acoustic Country and Delta style Blues.
Son Jack shines on his slide guitar proficiency. My favorite is solo instrumental track four called “Dearly Departed Blues” and to me is somewhat reminiscent of Ry Cooder. I love the slide overtones. I also like the third track a lot. It’s called “Crazy Blues” and fits right in with my philosophy of life. Of course part of the reason I like this track so much is it includes the very talented Harp Man, Kim Field. He also adds to track one “Peace of Mind Blues” and track 12 “Thousand Miles Blues”. All of the tracks are Son Jack Jr. originals except tracks six “Dust My Broom” (Robert Johnson), seven “Stingaree” (Charlie Musselwhite) and eleven “Black Mattie” (RL Burnside). These are excellent versions of these classic blues songs.
All in all Son Jack Jr. is a very talented man and he is a great addition to our already wonderful palette of Acoustic Blues performers in the greater Seattle area. I highly recommend the addition of this CD to any music lover’s library. I look forward to seeing this very talented musician in a live performance.
He eyed me with no discernable expression on his face. He saw my Mark Riley and raised with his Henry Cooper. I was holding aces over tens, so I bet the wad. I laid my Son Jack Jr. on the table. You can’t lose if you are holding the debut offering of Son Jack Jr. Of the twelve cuts, only three are covers.
The artist demonstrates excellent guitar work, especially bottleneck style. His vocal phrasing is right on track on every cut. The record opens with “Peace of Mind Blues”. You know right away that his influences are some of the greats. I can hear some John Lee Hooker throughout, and his one instrumental, immediately reminds me of John Hammond. Cut nine is my personal favorite, “Howling Poppet”. You might not really understand unless you listen closely, and then maybe not ‘til the end. It’s a double intraday going in the opposite direction from most songs.
This album is Delta Blues at its finest, and I’m not particularly a Delta Blues fan as my first choice. Son Jack Jr. is an excellent writer, and the record has been endorsed by none other than Charlie Musselwhite. I can see Son Jack Jr. in contention in the 2008 BBs. Look for him to show in best songwriter and best acoustic blues guitar.
“I love country blues and don’t hear much these days so I was happy to hear the new CD by Son Jack Jr. He must really love country blues because he sure has the feel”. Charlie Musselwhite
"A good variety of grooves with some very solid original material. His guitar playing was strong with shades of John Lee Hooker and Blind Willie Johnson. I've become a big fan of the North Mississippi hill country music, so Poor Black Mattie really caught my ear. I like it!" Rich Del Grosso
"...Delta blues at it's finest..." Washington Blues Society
"The 1st time I heard Son Jack Junior's CD, I honestly thought I was listening to John Lee Hooker. Since seeing him perform, I believe he is deeply connected to traditional Delta Blues, and his playing, singing, and writing, are a testimony to this. He is "rooted" in the blues" James "Curley" Cooke
Son Jack Jr is a guitarist and singer/songwriter based in Seattle, WA. He has a deep passion for the blues with a particular feeling for Delta blues which he plays on National Resophonic and Martin guitars.
Son Jack Jr grew up in London, England and has been playing guitar since the age of 9. In the late 1970's and early 1980's he recorded and toured extensively in the UK but stepped out of the music business in 1983 to follow a different path.
After a 24 year hiatus he is now back and released his debut CD ("Introducing...Son Jack Jr") in 2006 which includes 9 original tracks. In February 2008 he released his 2nd CD ("When The Devil Calls") with 10 new self penned tracks.
“I love country blues and don’t hear much these days so I was happy to hear the new CD by Son Jack Jr. He must really love country blues because he sure has the feel”.
Son Jack Jr
At Seattle's Highway 99 Blues Club - February 12th, 2008