Reviewed by Nigel Harris
'Something Better' is the second album from US blues man Jimmie Bratcher, featuring his current band and a host of notable players including drummer Doug Dimmel, formerly with Barbara Mandrell, and guest guitarist Larry Howard, whose handul of hot blues gospel albums are much treasured by connoisseurs. Jimmie describes it as "a bit more aggressive" than his 2001 debut album, 'Honey In The Rock'. In the words of Muddy Waters, "If you want to know about the blues, ya got's to go back to church." Jimmie brings 25 years experience of playing the blues in the mould of Albert King, Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix, not to mention the Texas blues of Jimmy and Stevie Ray Vaughan. He also has the perfect voice for it, constantly reminding me of Free's Paul Rodgers. My favourite, the title track, runs to five minutes 40 with enough guitar solos to satisfy any blues fan, with a further two minute acoustic reprise to close the album. As his website says, Jimmie's ministry is "preaching the Gospel - playing the blues", and he does a great job. He succeeds in varying the tone and tempo - gets a little funky, or adds a bit of gospel - but never strays too far from the blues. "You Are My Peace" borrows a few riffs unashamedly from Hendrix's "Little Wing". "Your Grace Is Enough" switches to some mellow acoustic guitar, but then the electric blues storms back with "Scarred King". A great album. If you want to hear the blues redeemed for the Lord, get this CD!
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