One of the more unlikely musical pairings in contemporary Texas blues — or any other genre — is also one of the longest-lasting. If there was any doubt, the Smokin' Joe Kubek Band and compatriot Bnois King cement their bond with the title of recent Alligator Records debut and twelfth overall studio effort Blood Brothers. Back in the day, Kubek was a teen blues prodigy who would put mascara in his peach fuzz in order to get into Dallas clubs, which apparently worked. He also befriended Stevie Ray Vaughan, and would eventually find himself in Freddie King's band before turning 20. Another King, Louisiana native/Dallas transplant Bnois (who lived in Houston briefly as a teen), is 13 years older than Kubek, and his playing and smooth vocals are more jazz-tinged than gutbucket growling. The pair met at a Dallas jam session in 1989, quickly bonded and never looked back. The amped-up, fiery Blood Brothers is stuffed with both boogie blooze and weepy ballads, featuring 13 originals and an eight-minute-plus hellacious torch job on Lightnin' Hopkins's "Stop Drinking." The pair take a good-natured jab at their advancing ages on opener "My Dog's Still Walkin'" ("My dog's still walkin'/ Even if he's walkin' slow"), but show absolutely no signs of slowing down musically. However, Kubek could still use that mascara — only now to dye his snow-white Colonel Sanders chin beard.
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