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Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers: Drive to Survive

On Jimmy Thackery & The Drivers, Drive To Survive (Blind Pig 5035; 60:43) the guitar hero-bandleader taps into a Hendrixian blues-rock vibe with distortion licks and lots of wah-wah. The results are often exhilarating, as on the jumped-up John Lee Hooker-influenced boogie number “You Got Work To Do,” Jimmy McGriff’s driving shuffle “All About My Girl” and the soulful ballad “That’s How I Feel.” This stripped-down guitar-bass-drums format (with minimal guitar overdubs) suits Thackery well. He cuts loose with wild abandon on “Play To Win,” reprises a classic surf guitar instrumental from the early ’60s in “Apache” and even has a go with a jazzy uptempo swinger in “Burford’s Bop,” a style pioneered by players like T-Bone Walker and Tiny Grimes and perpetuated by modern-day players like Duke Robillard and Charlie Baty. But Thackery makes the biggest impression here when he gets raunchy and screams with a vengeance, as on “Rub On Up.”

Originally Published