Jackson Price and the Blues Rockets Fly High on I Used To Have Fun LP
You really can’t tell Jackson Price, the front man for Jackson Price and the Blues Rockets, anything about the guitar that he (obviously) doesn’t already know and has mastered. Doesn’t matter if it’s acoustic or electric, lead or slide, blues or country music, or any other musical stratification. More than likely he’s already done it, perfected it, and moved on to something altogether else.
This much about the former actor is clear from even a perfunctory listen to the group’s debut album, I Used to Have Fun. Other than the drums (manned by producer Max Moulton), the band consists of nothing but stringed instruments with David Chmil splitting time between the rhythm guitar and the lead and Colin Jenkinson rounding out the quartet on the bass.
Price, however, puts it down on the lead the majority of the time, and typifies the duration of the album with riveting solos, eyebrow arching lyrics, and compositions that manage to hit home, regardless of which trajectory they’re headed. The formula works impeccably on “Evil by the Plenty”, a bonafide hit record if ever there was one, worthy of as much radio or video play as any other tune today.
You’ve got to hand it to the musicians for devising a funky rhythm guitar that is perhaps the singular guide throughout this odyssey, although the bass line itself is undeniably catchy. Moreover, the group breaks out the wood instruments for what appears to be a saxophone solo, while Price chimes in time for a couple of background vocals that really up the ante. All in all, the work it at it’s most captivating when the group breaks it down for Price’s verses, accentuated by a sumptuous melody that rides that grooving bass and rhythm guitar like never before.
But speaking of vocals, Price has got the type of lyrics that definitely captivate the listener’s attention. Delivered through an at times almost gruff, ‘been there, done that’ delivery, you need to hear this man articulating the oft-desired outcome of not getting high, but maintaining that state on “Staying High”. I mean, dude talks about bringing it back from Mexico, switching from the 10 to the 1 (for those familiar with the country’s major highways), and a gang of other particulars about that good ol’ work.
It’s this sort of familiarity with his topics—and such quality instrumentation—that makes this LP worth listening to, and even begets anticipation for future ones.