Sat April 7, 2012
Marc On The Blues

The Blues Tonight: Smokin' Joe & Bnois

Join me this Saturday night for The Nine O’clock Blues and we’ll enjoy a set of 3 pieces from the long time Texas Blues guitar pairing of Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King.

It seems like the 2 were meant to team up. King may be 13 years older, but he and Kubek have lived almost the same life.  Their biography’s cause me to have thoughts of Rod Serling. Both come from non-musical families but knew by age 13 that they had to spend their lives immersed in the Blues.

They were influenced by many of the same Blues greats and each worked their way into the bars and clubs before they were of legal age. Over the years they knew and worked with many of the same people and played many of the same places without ever meeting. Both developed into outright road warriors with an insatiable desire to perform. Kubek and King also share the less desirable experience of having lived through and conquered alcohol abuse.   

Joe Kubek grew up in a Dallas academic family and came to the Blues through the British invasion artists like Cream and Jeff Beck and became a confirmed Blues lover after seeing Howlin’ Wolf, B. B. King, Muddy Waters and Freddie King. It was Freddie King who mentored Kubek in the Blues and Al ‘TNT’ Braggs who taught him how to be a good band leader, how to arrange a show and how songs could best work together.

Bnois King was born in Delhi, Louisiana in 1943 and was a seasoned road performer by age 13.   His credits include stints in the bands of James Brown and Jimmy Reed. In the late 1970s King landed in Houston and liked the scene so much he stayed and met Kubek at a jam session in 1989 and they teamed up. Since then they have recorded more than a dozen albums and spent their time on near perpetual tour.  

I love how their dramatically contrasting yet amazingly complimentary guitar styles manage to blend so beautifully. While it’s the blazing guitar work that draws me to them, their excellent songwriting abilities and King’s smooth vocals add a great deal to the mix.

Also, I’ve found that they can be counted on to fill out their band with only the very best players. Expect powerful and straight forward Texas Blues but with a nice tinge of the south side of Chicago.  

Tune in Saturday night and I’m sure you’ll be impressed by these 2 highly talented and passionate exponents of Texas Blues guitar.


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