Electric Blues
Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers - Switching Gears
Blind Pig 1998
Review Published Mar 15, 1998
Artist Spotlite on Jimmy Thackery

Sound Clips, Discography
Track Listing
1 I've Got Other Plans
2 Take Me With You
      When You Go
3 Dancing on Broken Glass
4 It's My Own Fault
5 Monkey
6 Roy's Blues
7 Wouldn't Change a Thing
8 Write if You Find Love
9 I Got to be Strong
10 Gin in the Morning
11 Still Raining,
      Still Dreaming
12 If This is Love
13 Still Raining,
      Still Dreaming (reprise)

EB Rating - 4.5

Switching Gears is just what Jimmy Thackery does on his latest CD. Jimmy restrains his penchant for in-your-face guitar on several songs, and instead treats the listener to a wide array of musical styles. There are no less than 6 slow-paced, relaxed blues numbers. I wouldn't really say they're ballads, but fairly back laid by Jimmy's standards. I shouldn't be surprised that Jimmy can play these type of songs well, I have been impressed with his mastery of the guitar since his days with the Nighthawks. I've Got Other Plans and Dancing on Broken Glass. are especially well done. Reba Russell sings with Jimmy on the latter, and their voices work very well together. I've always considered Jimmy's vocals to decent, and he seems to be getting stronger in that department. There's even an acoustic number, If This is Love. If you've heard the Sideways in Paradise CD, you have a good idea what this song is like. Joe Louis Walker does the vocals on this one.
There are only three songs that I consider to be typical Thackery Tunes. Monkey and Gin in the Morning will satisfy those fans who like what Jimmy does best. As will It's My Own Fault, Jimmy's customary hard-edged, straight blues, offering. Again though, there's a twist. Chicago bluesman Lonnie Brooks joins in, doing the vocals and trading licks. It's definitely the highlight of the CD.
Rounding out the variety, there's a zydeco song, with accordian by Chubby Carrier, and a tribute to Roy Buchanan, in which Jimmy recreates Roy's unique style amazingly well. Roy's Blues is an instrumental played entirely on one chord. I've never been very fond of that song style. There is some great playing on this song, though.
Wrapping up the set, Jimmy does some Jimi, Jimi Hendrix, that is. Hendrix material is another fairly common occurance on Thackery CDs, but, yet again, something unusual. For this set Jimmy chooses the melodic guitar/sax duet, Still Raining, Still Dreaming. A far cry from the scorching Red House reditions of past.
This is an excellent CD. I still like his first Blind Pig release, Empty Arms Motel, the best, but I'm sure many will pick Switching Gears as Thackery's best due the fine job he does with such a wide selection of styles.
Visitor's Comments
Extremely glad to see you feature and review Switching Gears. You're taste in his music is almost parallel to mine. Empty Arms is the best thus far. "I've Got Other Plans" & "Dancing on Broken Glass" are my two favorites from S.G. I also like - I Wouldn't Change A Thing " as a different Thackery tune. Don't agree with your comment about "It's My Own Fault" w/ Lonnie being the highlite of the disk. I like Lonnie, but think Jimmy shines on his own on the above mentioned tunes. ....Arlene