Album – Big Bad Sun – Chris Juergensen

Posted by admin on September 15th, 2006

When I think of the rockier side of R&B, some of the immediate names that come to mind are Eric Clapton (of course), John Mayall and the recently reviewed Robert Farrell and Paul Rose. Not the widest selection of artists, but that’s due more to my lack of exposure, than to the lack of excellent musicians. Chris contacted me a few weeks back, with regard to reviewing his album and I had a quick listen and added him to the rotation. It wasn’t until I was listening to the Dark Compass podcast that I had the first receptive, frontal assault on my ear drums and man what a sound. Consequently here I am, on the same day, stuffing my ears full of Big Bad Sun and loving every minute.

Before I go into depth on the album itself, I have to say, Chris plays guitar like I always dreamed. I’ve had an acoustic for 20 years and have yet to progress any further than 5 or 6 basic chords, and even they are a bit crappy. To play like this takes time and dedication, but it also takes passion. Chris also has an excellent voice for this kind of music. All too often you get a musician who really wrings out ever last drop from their instrument, but as soon as they open their mouths, the whole illusion they’ve built is shattered, Not so here. Yes there is an element of roughness, or rather ruggedness to the vocals, but they mesh with the music incredibly well.

The 9 songs presented on this album are a real tour-de-force. They have that R&B authenticity that could have easily come from some of the greats in the 1970’s. The average track length is around the 6 minute mark, but there is one track that weighs in at nearly 9 minutes, not that that is a problem. At no time during the entire album, do you feel that any of the tracks are too long. The album opens with “Sweet Melissa”, a track that eases you into the album, like a shoehorn helps a feet into a comfy pair of slippers. Well yes, maybe not the best of analogies, but the best I can think of at the moment. It’s also a track that reminds me of another track, but I can’t for the life of me remember which one. “Come Out Baby” starts to liven things up a bit, with the more rocker, R&B sound. The title track “Big Bad Sun” has that slow, lazy feel that was synonymous with “John Lee Hooker”, I can just imagine him singing this. This track also has some amazing guitar work, as indeed does the rest of the album. My favorite track on the album would have to be “Some Sympathy”, which reminds me a lot of Booker T and the MG’s, in particular their track “Green Onions”. The album rounds off with “Bug Lips”, which while having a strange name, has an even stranger sound, when compared to the rest of the album. The only one track on the album that disagreed with me was “Revelation”. There’s nothing particularly bad about it, it just didn’t agree with me for some reason, in particular the vocals/lyrics.

Conclusion : Whether you are a fan of R&B or just appreciate music at it’s finest, this is an album for you. Sheer class.

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