Jay Hooks Jay Hooks

The dust has long settled on the glut of Stevie Ray Vaughan clones that followed the great one's demise. But there's a force to be reckoned with in Jay Hooks - fronting yet another power trio specialising in crotch-grinding, hip-shaking blues and roadhouse rock that has kept Texas in the news ever since. On his second release, this Houston native has captured a purity of sound that drops comparisons by the wayside. Except that they are inevitable: Johnny Winter, SRV, Albert Collins, Hendrix. They're all quoted here, captured and refocused by producer Ben Elliot, who's worked his share of magic for Peter Green, Leslie West and Eric Clapton. That's the good news. The bad news is that Hooks' voice is his Achilles heel and his vocals drive most of the originals. Skip forward to his two powerful instrumentals, "Sling Shot" and "Take It To The House," or back to his inventive leads on "Voodoo Woman" or the scorching runs all over "Last Time I Left Memphis." Talents like this are rare and it is certain his robust guitar-playing alone was what first caught the attention of European audiences, landing him this first worldwide release. (Provogue)