Dirty Linen - 06-07/03, p.89
"...His youthful enthusiasm really shines through..."
Kid Jonny Lang & The Big Bang: Kid Jonny Lang (vocals, guitar); Ted "Lightnin' Boy" Larsen (guitar, background vocals); Jeff Hayes (bass, background vocals); Michael Rey Larsen (drums, background vocals).
Includes liner notes by Jon Bream.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
Smokin' is a good electric blues album, but it's hard to divorce an assessment of it from the knowledge that singer/guitarist Jonny Lang was a mere 14 years old when he recorded it. Would one consider it such an achievement if the bandleader were twice that age? Probably not. Without Lang's precocity as a draw, the album is a competent work in a hidebound form. The guitar playing is fluid and professional in a style reminiscent of many other players, notably B.B. King. The singing is fine, but unremarkable. The backup band maintains a groove and gives Lang something to play off of. If you saw a band playing like this in a local club, you'd have a good time. And if you could tell that the guitar player was underage, you'd be far more impressed. But then, that's the point, isn't it? ~ William Ruhlmann