john kay

Smokestack Lightnin' Home Page -- The Blues Profile Page

John Kay - acoustic, resophonic and electric guitars
Ron Hurst - drums
Danny Johnson - electric guitar, mandolin and hand drum
Guy Divito - bass
Wally "Sweet Daddy" Greaney - harmonica
Michael Wilk - keyboards
Renee Armand - vocals
john kay
John Kay may be more familiar with music fans through his work with Steppenwolf, who have been on the rock and roll scene since the late 60's. What many fans might not know is that in the early 60's, John Kay crossed the country playing acoustic blues wherever he could make a few dollars. Following up on the social commentary of the 60's folk blues era, this DVD provides a semi-unplugged version of John Kay working in a more relaxed vocal and musical style. The show, beautifully filmed along with excellent sound, is stripped down with minimal rock and roll trappings.

John Kay's recent albums contain a lot of social commentary and this one just raises the bar a bit. His voice is perfect for this style of music. Vocally, he doesn't force the issue and instrumentally, he provides a nice traditional blues based sound which sounds very basic and simple, but the simplicity is deceiving as getting that correct sound is harder than it seems. John Kay switches from standard acoustic guitar, to resonator and electric guitars depending on what the songs need. His backing band is solid, and provides just enough support without overplaying.

Most of the songs are acoustic based, laid back, relaxed with blues story telling and commentary and continues to build until around three quarters of the way through, when the song 'Endless Commercial' adds great blues riffing electric guitar adds lots of attitude to the song. From this point to the end of the DVD, things start rocking until it ends with Steppenwolf's 'Magic Carpet Ride' and the obligatory 'Born to be Wild'. The encore drops back to a bluesy 'The Back Page' to finish off the DVD.

Bottom Line: This is an excellent DVD, with excellent video and audio. There is a fair amount of diversity with this release. If you like later Steppenwolf or John Kay's solo works, then you should like this release. If you are looking for lots of heavy blues riffing guitar, you might want to look elsewhere, but for pure vocal and musical entertainment, this DVD gets four out of five stars. ~Review by Robert T. Murphy

Click the PLAY button below to start the stream