Jack BlackmanJack Blackman
Album: Jack Blackman
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 9

Jack Blackman recently returned from a second trip to the Mississippi Delta to play a series of gigs and radio performances. His visit to the home of the blues pays great dividends as he delivers an album that, in its nine tracks, showcases a range of styles, unquestionable authenticity and an undoubtedly talented artist.

The fact that each of the songs on this album was recorded live in a single take is a true testament to the talent and precision of Blackman as a guitarist - most notably as he exhibits a great range of technique and style as he 'slaps and slides on steel' in Whiskey Grave. Indeed, innovative and skillful guitar work is an enduring, but not overpowering, presence throughout.

It would, however, be easy to say that Blackman's self-titled album is a record in which the pleasures are to be found solely in the exquisite guitar playing. That, though, would be to underplay Blackman's other talents; soulful vocals - especially when his voice deepens to find a baritone on Patch up that hole - and excellent song writing, which ranges form the lilted storytelling of Charles Walton Blues to the poetic blues of This Old Life Will Be the Death of Me.

Perhaps most impressively though, Blackman displays a great sense of balance on this record; he allows his songs to remain songs rather than simply using them as a platform to display his ability with a guitar. The resulting record is very good.

Elliot Wilson