Big Jack Johnson: Live in Chicago

Speaking of real…Big Jack Johnson lays it out in no uncertain terms on Live In Chicago (Earwig 4939; 65:14). A former member of the Clarksdale, Mississippi-based jukers The Jellyroll Kings, Johnson is captured here at Buddy Guy’s Legends nightclub backed by Chicago’s Aron Burton Blues Band. He sings and plays guitar with raw, reckless abandon on Ivory Joe Hunter’s “Since I Met You Baby,” Hank Ballard’s “Twist,” B.B. King’s “I Got A Whole Lotta Lovin” and a raucous rendition of Jimmy Forrest’s instrumental, “Night Train.” In general, there’s more of a rocky edge to this material than his looser, Delta-flavored stuff with The Jellyroll Kings. But Big Jack delivers the same aggressive, real deal feeling.