Black Bone Child Take You Blind
by Joe Mis
From out of the Deep South (well, Austin TX really) comes blues-rocker band Black Bone Child. Don’t look for hard rock or classic rock – these guys are strictly old school blues and blues-rock in the style of the Black Crowes or even B.B. King. Their current release entitled Take You Blind, is an all acoustic blues-rock expo featuring 8 strong songs, brilliant engineering and fine musicianship. It is all simple and basic music with a great overall groove that will induce much toe tapping and possibly even some singing aloud.
Primarily a duo in the studio, Black Bone Child prides itself on being a one-stop shop. They handle all songwriting performing, recording and producing on their own. When they play live, founding members Donny James and Kenneth M are joined by drummer Steve Hudson and guitarist Jason King. For Take You Blind, BBC is in their two man mode, with all music being done by Donny and Kenny – and they come at the listener with everything from harmony vocals to guitars to tambourines to hand claps. They aren’t afraid to work behind the mixing board either. Without over-engineering the music, BBC manages to bring an almost power-metal precision to their work without disrupting the natural warmth and simple feel of the blues.
“Baby Baby” is a great opener and sets the tone for the balance of the disc. Filled with lush harmonicas, tons of slide guitars, great vocal harmonies and a really infectious rhythm line this track is guaranteed to bring a smile to any blues fan’s face. Almost Led Zeppelin-ish in tone, this song would get the crowd to its collective feet in any jazz or blues bar. “By My Hand” is much more somber and moodier blues track that just oozes slide guitar and solid bass. “Tell Me I’m Wrong” is a truly amazing heavy blues song – it would make an ideal soundtrack for an old Western movie. It features great harmony vocals and a simple but catchy melody and just works. “The Flames Are Warm” is a more up-tempo track, and it sounds like they had a lot of fun recording it.
“Mine” comes across as a really old-school bluesy track with some killer vocals and great lyrics. This would be another good Western movie theme song, and it features a very good acoustic guitar solo. “Ask For Forgiveness” is a very slow and simple blues track and filled with twangy guitars and simple heartfelt lyrics. BBC turns up the energy once again with the hand-clapping “Time Pass Me By” – it’s a bit of a shame that this song is only just a shade over two minutes long, but they cram a whole lot of music into such a brief time. The low key “Dying For Your Love” wraps the album in fine fashion with a heavy slow blues groove that leaves you wanting more.
Any fan of the blues or blues-rock will enjoy this disc, and anyone who has ever tried to play in this style will appreciate the massive amount of talent and technique that Black Bone Child brings to the table. This album may not have broad appeal beyond blues fans due to its acoustic and stripped down nature, but Take You Blind is modern blues-rock at its purest. If you love the blues, don’t miss it.
Donny James & Kenneth M (vocals, guitars, bass, drums, harmonicas, tambourines)
1. Baby Baby
2. By My Hand
3. Tell Me I’m Wrong
4. The Flames Are Warm
6. Ask For Forgiveness
7. Time Pass Me By
8. Dying For Your Love
Hardrock Haven rating: 8.5/10