Eli Cook wades through dark waters on this splendid blues offering, a staggering piece of work. Rarely before has blues tradition been so thoroughly soaked up, only to be reworked and authentically and effectively channeled through numerous shades of rock, never tampering with the authoritative menacing personality of the genre. Ace, Jack & King takes us through different motions-- a mixed bag of moods and emotions, sometimes catchy and accessible, unlike the aloof, noticeably bad tempered adaptations of pre war blues. And it works like hell! Eli Cook is constantly experimenting through his playing, and his scattered expeditions into uncharted territories constantly push the boundaries of the blues.
This is ramblin’ in the truest sense of the word. Excitement starts brewing as soon as Death Rattle gets loose, and you suddenly spot the devil bite you arse. Talk about blues with razor sharp fangs, whose intensity is fuelled with outbursts of rudimentary hard rock. Snake Charm freely expands on the devils statement, blending cumbersome riffing and menacing vocals, liberated of even the slightest hint of harmonious likeability. The majority of the album, however, is firmly rooted in the field of acoustic guitar; therefore it remains strained over more or less recognizable musical frame, but nevertheless tends to impress with an equal amount of originality. Songs like good old Driftin, the mind resting Black Eyed Dog and the Gallagher like Cocaine Blues are trusty couriers of peppery acoustic blues raised in authentic pre war environment. True blues orphans, lost souls with attitude! Driftin is particularly impressive, due to Cook s slide guitar work and grave vocals which create the song s mournful appeal.
Eli Cook bows to blues great Skip James with a unique rendition of Catfish Blues and the lesser known number Crow Jane. Certainly Cook s distinctive interpretation of the latter may seem odd to orthodox blues followers, still there is no denying the refreshment injected by the gloomy, almost grungy approach. Gutsy maneuver indeed, the one that definitely underlined Eli Cook s exceptional breadth in understanding the blues.