by Rob Duguay
One of the golden rock & roll treasures out of the legendary music scene of Austin, TX, Black Joe Lewis is back with his third studio album Electric Slave. A lot of fuzz and a big punk influence resonate on the album to separate it from the rest of Black Joe's catalog, it's an absolute step in the right direction for a band that's putting forth an effort to progress their sound. There's still that blues, soul & rock & roll that makes Black Joe Lewis' music so special, also that lovely horn section is still there as well. Not much has changed with Black Joe on the new album, everything still kicks but also has gotten that jolt of unbelievable brilliance. Think as if an 800-pound gorilla got injected with hi-octane adrenaline and started destroying a bunch of nuclear tanks, then take that thought and put in into a rock & roll record. Enter Black Joe Lewis' Electric Slave.
The title comes from an observant look on behalf of Black Joe Lewis on how humanity has depended on technology for so many different things, whether it's communication, how to get to where your going or getting a bite to eat among other scenarios. After giving Electric Slave a listen the only thing you'll be obedient to will be the great combination of Black Joe's rigid & groovy guitar and the harmonious ecstasy coming from the horns, so good that it might even raise "The Godfather Of Soul" James Brown from the grave. Energy is one thing, but when Black Joe Lewis plays it's like a wrecking ball hitting a hydrogen bomb.
Now trying to pick my favorite songs off of this awesome album is just ludicrous to me, Electric Slave is definitely in my Top 5 Albums of 2013 and every track is impeccable. To think that one is better than the other is just insane, but you can't fault me for being honest. Let me just reach my blind hand into a hat and I'll just pick random songs you should listen to, because with any song you really can't go wrong. Alright enough of my praising and worshipping rock & roll, here goes something:
"Skulldiggin" got that fuzz I mentioned earlier with Black Joe singing like a colossal madman of some sorts, definitely bringing a lot of intensity on the first track off the album. "The Hipster" reminds me of nearly everyone I know who lives on the outskirts of the Olneyville neighborhood in Providence, this rockin' number is their biography and they don't even know it. "Dar Es Salaam" is another fuzz-rock anthem that I totally dig, those riffs along with Black Joe's screaming soul bring chills up my spine. "Come To My Party" has a lot of old-school funk that'll make you groove and move, a dance anthem for anyone who likes to take a few back and let it all hang out. So I'm done finagling my fingers through the mystery hat, keep in mind that every track off of Electric Slave is bound to electrify the senses.
Black Joe Lewis and his backing band The Honeybears will be going on tour starting on September 7th at The Mercy Lounge in Nashville and concluding the expedition at The Fred Jones Jr. Museum Of Art on the campus on The University Of Oklahoma in Norman, OK on October 3rd. For us New Englanders we have two chances to catch Black Joe, September 12th at The Royale in Boston and September 24th at Fete in Providence. These are two shows you don't want to miss, some of the best rock & roll you'll ever hear will be gracing the stage. Until Black Joe Lewis rolls through your neighborhood, grab a copy of Electric Slave and bask in an album that make you go crazy in a very, very good way.