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Bourbon Jones | Tama Del Rey | review | rock | Lollipop

Bourbon Jones and the Smokes

Tama Del Rey (Last Chance)
by Jon Sarre

This Portland, OR power trio is a better live band than you'd deduct from this disc. I guess that's too bad, but then again, bio claims aside, they don't sound much like the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (of course these days the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion doesn't sound much like the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion either). Bourbon Jones and the Smokes rely not on Spencer's tactic of driving a rhythm into the ground, but instead on a slow, loping groove anchored by Robert Burnham's bass and Adam Alcala's drums, around which Pat Kearns' sparse guitar riffs either go tasteful distorto-punk or slidey bluesy. Burnham delivers the lyrics matter-of-factly, maybe an urban hipster Chinanski wannabe, but not really in much of a hurry to let us on to the fact. He's a poet who probably hates poets, which is preferable anyday to a Dylan pretender without the imagination or sense of humor (like Springsteen or Mike Stipe, for example). Bourbon Jones stole the show at a star-crossed bill I set up with a mutual friend a while back. When I booked 'em, they were still Kingsize (some clowns from Louisiana with the same name threatened legal action), then, after the name change, I think I Freudian slipped their moniker into the club calendar as "Bourbon Jones and the Shakes." Appropos, I still maintain, cuz, well, the Shakes, that's what comes with a Bourbon Jones, right?
(3812B SE Division Portland, OR 97202)


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