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Kim Wilson: Smokin’ Joint

Smokin’ Joint (M.C. Records 0043; 73:46), the new album from Kim Wilson, the charismatic frontman for the Fabulous Thunderbirds, captures him in full stride with two separate exuberant outfits at the Rhythm Room in Phoenix and at the Cafe Boogaloo in Hermosa Beach. The Rhythm Room band features a fabulous guitar tandem of Billy Flynn and Rusty Zinn, who kills with swinging T-Bone Walker flair on Dave Bartholomew’s jump blues, “Ain’t Gonna Do It.” The other guitar tandem of young pickers Troy Gonyea and Kirk Fletcher unleash on “Got to Let You Go” from the Cafe Boogaloo. Wilson, a solid, soulful singer, also unveils some superb Little Walter-inspired blues harp on Willie Dixon’s lively shuffle “Oh Baby,” his boogie-woogie number “Got to Let You Go,” the instrumental title track and on the traditional slow blues “Early in the Morning.” Lots of surging roadhouse energy comes pouring off the bandstand on this scintillating live document.

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