Jim Thackery, when he was part of the Nighthawks, played the most devastating version of Sonny Boy Williamson’s (Rice Miller) "Nine Below Zero" I have ever heard. Thackery played fast and accurate, without a single wasted note, betraying long nights at the roadhouse. Journeyman is the perfect designation for Thackery: he spent the better part of the 1970s and ‘80s touring 300 nights a year. Retiring from that, Thackery took some time off, went through a couple of bands before arriving at the Drivers in 1992. After six releases on Blind Pig, Thackery jumped ship to Telarc Jazz, taking the Drivers with him and debuting with We Got It
in June of 2002. By September Thackery was earning his big label stripes with Tab Benoit on Whiskey Store
, which contains the superb slow blues "Nice and Warm."
Returning with the Drivers, Thackery has penned nine originals and chosen two interesting covers. Thackery plays a serviceable slide guitar on "Got It Going On" and "Dancin’ With The Dawg." But it is his lead guitar on songs like "Being Alone" and "Blues Man on a Saturday Night" that lights up the sky like the Fourth of July. The center point of the recording is Thackery's take on Roy Buchanan's "The Messiah Will Come." Thackery's guitar floats over Ken Fatinson's Hammond B3. Here, Thackery ascends to the level of a Roy Buchanan or Danny Gatton, proving himself worthy of such company.
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