Jocks Juke Joint Volume 1
The hardest thing I think you can do when reviewing music is to review a compilation album. What you have is a collection on sometimes wildly differing tracks that are schizophrenic in personality, they were never destined to be together and can wildly differ in quality and feel. It’s a near impossible task but one that I feel I needed to take on when I heard the great new compilation CD Jock’s Juke Joint Volume 1.
It is a wildly disparate album. Scotland, it turns out, has a very varied blues scene, cutting a line from the deeply traditional at one end right through to the very modern blues rock performed by the likes of Lewis Hamilton. The good news is that along with the variety there is a pretty damn high standard too, one that is kept up pretty much across the board on this well chosen collection of songs, there are moments that are not perfect at least to my taste, but nothing is truly awful, in fact nothing is even close to bad.
Of course, the fact that the music was not initially intended to make up a whole means that it doesn’t hang together in the way a normal album does, it’s not telling a story in the way the best records do, but it has been carefully chosen and paced. There is a decent ebb and flow to the cd as a whole, but it’s not something that rewards a traditional listen in as much as a smorgasbord of carefully chosen delicacies that can be dipped into at will, and in that sense it’s perfect. It does exactly what it intends and showcases the very best of Scottish blues in a very effective manner. So what if it doesn’t reward a traditional beginning to end listen? Most folks are buying singles by download now, cherry picking the works of many into a playlist of favorite tracks, and with this compilation the work has been taken away, it’s convenience personified.
So Jock’s Juke Joint is a great purchase for blues fans, a great introduction to a vibrant Scottish scene and a really well picked compilation of very fine music.