Jimmy Thackery & The Drivers
@ Bunkers October 25-26, 1996

Jimmy Thackery
Photo © 1997 by Chuck Winans.
(taken at Tampa Bay Blues Festival) All rights reserved.
During the first set Friday at Bunkers Jimmy Thackery said "we didn't come here to buy furniture, we came to have fun!" Well, they sure didn't buy any furniture...they literally moved every piece in the room that night. One of the promotional pieces said "Thackery drives harder than a Mack truck in high gear going downhill on rain-slickened asphalt." That pretty much sums up the show Friday night except for a few curves along the way. By curves I mean some outstanding change of pace songs that really set Thackery apart from many of the also-ran blistering blues/rock guitarists on the scene today.

Thackery is among the elite of blues/rock guitarists playing today. In fact this show was so good I wished I didn't have a prior engagement the next night so I could see him again. Thackery displays a technical mastery of the guitar that is mesmerizing. His influences, which came through loud and clear in his playing, displayed a versatility that was an absolute pleasure to listen to. On different songs you could hear the distinct rhythms of John Lee Hooker and Jimmy Reed, the influences of Otis Rush and Muddy Waters, the wizardry of Freddie King and Albert Collins, the slide work of Elmore James, the guitar pyrotechnics of Jimmy Hendrix, the soul of Magic Sam, the versatility of Buddy Guy all the way to the surf sounds of rock guitarists from the sixties. The instrumental Apache played by Thackery sounded even better than the original.

Jimmy Thackery
Photo © 1998 by Tom Asp.
All rights reserved.
Thackery played the guitar behind his head, with his teeth, down on his knees and even out on Washington Avenue (during one Little Richard number he took a stroll through the audience and ended up playing guitar to surprised passing cars out front of Bunkers). The second set opened with some blistering Chicago styled slide on his flying V guitar. One of the many highlights of the show featured the Hendrix inspired national anthem played in all its feedback/distortion glory. The only thing missing was the lighter fluid and match.

Eleven years ago Thackery penned an R & B song called That's How I Feel, but never had a chance to record it until now. He wasn't sure how it would come off with just his power trio but it turned out to be another highlight of the show that night and one of his best songs on his newly released Blind Pig CD Drive to Survive.

Jimmy Thackery
Photo © 1998 by Tom Asp.
All rights reserved.
You might also want to check out some of his other recent CD's including the live recording Wild Night Out (1995), Trouble Man (1994) and his first CD with the Drivers the critically acclaimed Empty Arms Motel (1992). Thackery has been playing blues/rock guitar since the late 60's first with the Nighthawks and later with the R & B group The Assassins. He also released an outstanding traditional acoustic blues CD with John Mooney in 1993 (recorded in 1985). The Drivers are Michael Patrick on bass (from the Twin Cities) and Mark Stutso on drums and lead vocals. In fact it is Stutso's fine blues singing on many of the songs that adds a unique quality to the dynamics of this trio. This is a show you definitely want to attend the next time they are in town.
Keep the Blues Alive!

Mailbox E-mail Ray Stiles at: mnblues@aol.com

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Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998 by Ray M. Stiles
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.