Outside Lookin' In

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Fans of Jimmy Thackery, a local favorite, will probably enjoy the hell out of this album. Lovers of the blues harp and great slide guitar should also take time to give this one a worthwhile listen -- if they haven't already done so.

The boy's got chops. Guitar chops. Harp chops. Vocal chops. Chops.

Chicago-born Studebaker John Grimaldi and his band possess that same muscle-driven style of rhythm that sounds as if it was inspired by slow, easy rides down wide-open streets behind the wheel of a big-shouldered automobile. No, not a car. An automobile. There is a difference.

Outside Lookin' In is the first recording for the Hawks, but it sat in the can for 20 years before its release. Grimaldi was only 26 years old at the time, and the album was supposed to be called Rocking the Blues. The ridiculously long labor is finally over and the album is face-to-face with the world. To hit the scene with such a strong debut says a lot about Grimaldi's abilities, but it says even more about his commitment to doing things right. This album sounds much more like an effort produced by a veteran of the process than by a newcomer.

But old or new, this is an album worthy of notice.

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