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BLUES NEWS: JIMMY THACKERY IS BACK

Blues guitarist Jimmy Thackery, who's performing Thursday on St. John, Friday on St. Thomas and Saturday on St. Croix, needs your help. Well, at least he's asking for it.
No, actually he needs it.
Like most Baby Boomers in the public eye who haven't already done so, he is developing a web site, and it's an unabashed work in progress.
Visit www.jamthack.com and you'll understand. Here's all it says, essentially promoting his new CD:
"Jim Gaines [his three-time CD producer, a Grammy winner who has also worked with Stevie Ray Vaughn, Steve Miller and Santana] and Jimmy Thackery are reunited on ‘Sinner Street' and the results speak for themselves. Jimmy's guitar playing has never been hotter and songs like ‘Lovin' My Money,' ‘Hundreds Into Ones' and ‘Million Dollar Bill' are some of his wittiest thus far. The sound of the band has an exciting new dimension, provided by sax man and newest Driver Jimmy Carpenter. Two instrumentals, the swinging title cut and the Peter Green-like ‘Blues 'Fore Dawn,' are true highlights. Jimmy Thackery's career has produced many highly acclaimed recordings, but ‘Sinner Street' is destined to outshine them all.
"That's about all until next time…..jimmy
"help me with the page
"what do we need to do…"
So, feel free to offer suggestions – online, or in person while he's in the V.I.
Now, about the man, the music and the gigs on our islands …
Thackery has been playing professionally for three decades and has been doing so in the Virgin Islands for going on two. What he plays is a blend of blues/rock, urban blues, acoustic blues and "a splash of contemporary zydeco," according to his biography.
He grew up in Washington, D.C., where, as a teenager, he was impressed by Buddy Guy performing in a church and then blown away by Jimi Hendrix letting loose in his first gig after getting kicked off the Monkees tour.
In 1972, Thackery connected with harmonica player Mark Wenner to form the Nighthawks, a band that would become one of the most popular blues groups in the country. After being on the road 300 nights a year for 14 years, he decided in 1987 to give it a rest, but that didn't last long. Soon he had a new six-piece group, The Assassins, in action. The band made three critically acclaimed albums before it broke up in 1991.
Meantime, in 1985, he recorded an acoustic duet album, "Sideways in Paradise," with slide guitar master John Mooney in Jamaica. A Blues Access critic praised his "remarkable facility here for the acoustic setting … The players trade National steel guitars and mandolins, and explode the barriers of possibility for traditional acoustic music." (The album was reissued on the Blind Pig label in 1993.)
Next, to put his guitar pyrotechnics back in the spotlight, Thackery formed the Drivers – just him, a bass player and a drummer. Their first release, "Empty Arms Motel," for Blind Pig in 1992, wowed critics, won them new fans and became one of the top blues titles of the year. There've been five other CD's since, including "Sinner Street" and the one live album, "Wild Night Out!" recorded in Detroit and released by Blind Pig in 1995. Guitar Player magazine called that one "a watershed of industrial-strength roots rock" and Blues Revue hailed Thackery for the "depth and breadth of his awesome ability."
The band grew to four members two years ago with the addition of saxophonist Jimmy Carpenter, a veteran bluesman who had been crossing paths with Thackery for years. Since then, he, bass player Ken Faltinson and drummer Mark Stutso have been the boys in the band.
Thackery says he decided to approach "Sinner Street" differently in terms of recording sessions: "Instead of putting all the material together in one basket and running into the studio and recording it real fast, we would take time out, record pieces of material in groups, and then live with it for a while until we decided where we wanted to go with the next group of tunes, thereby giving ourselves a sense of direction."
Recorded in Memphis, the album consists "mostly of songs that I wrote or co-wrote with Keith Sykes," he says.
Robert Murphy, reviewing the album for Blues on Stage online, offers this assessment: "The opening cut, ‘Grab the Rafters,' is reminiscent of the Blues Brothers with its horns … ‘Bad News' goes back in time a bit to almost a '50s jazz blues time frame with backing horns and the back-and-forth interplay of the guitar with the horns. ‘Sinner Street,' the title cut, is an instrumental … a driving guitar sound with soulful horns on top with just a hint of surf sound, very different and familiar at the same time … ‘Lovin' My Money' is vintage Thackery with a basic blues beat … ‘Chained to the Blues Line' is straight out of '60s Motown with modern production. ‘Havin' A Heart' is a slow number, also vintage Thackery but with more background vocals and horns added. The last song on the CD, ‘Blues 'Fore Dawn,' is a slow, grinding blues instrumental with great guitar work."
The album should be available at the St. John, St. Thomas and St. Croix concerts.
Thackery is no stranger to any of the three islands, although he is performing at venues new to him. In the early 1980s, he played with the Nighthawks at the old Barnacle Bill's on St. Thomas. Ironically, he'll be introduced in Tillett Gardens Friday night by Bill Grogan, Arts Alive concerts technical director and master of ceremonies, who owned and operated Barnacle Bill's until the government pulled the plug on his government-land lease a few years ago.
He was vacationing on Virgin Gorda even before that and remembers the St. Thomas of 25 years ago, when it was "a little more colloquial." He's been a repeat performer at the Green House more recently, the last time two years ago.
Thackery has played on St. Croix in a number of bookings arranged by Charlie Campbell. In the late '90s, these included a couple of January one-day blues festivals Campbell put together utilizing the talent that sailed into the Frederiksted harbor aboard ships making a "blues cruise." The last one was in 1998, and it was memorable.
"Jimmy was playing at height of his show" in the Paul E. Joseph Stadium, Campbell recalls. "The stage was about 5 feet off the ground, he jumped off, and he landed on his foot wrong. He was on his back in pain – but he didn't miss a beat. The crowd kind of gathered around and helped him back on his feet. He got back onstage and finished the set."
It was the next day before he went to the hospital. That evening he amazed those who knew what had happened, keeping his performance date in King's Alley, walking on with his foot in a cast and playing sitting down.
As for St. John, Thackery remembers well his gig at Skinny Legs a few years back. It was quintessential Coral Bay: "The gear they provided me was basically like a Zenith TV and a boom box," he says, "and I had somebody go get me something else, and what they brought me was ancient but it worked. I remember that the crowd was really big, and everybody had a blast."
One of the guitars Thackery is playing on this tour is his 1964 Fender Stratocaster that disappeared, along with a less valuable custom guitar, backstage after a concert in Kansas City last summer. The Strat, which turned up a couple days after the incident, is one he's played for more than 20 years. Now, "I keep my eye on it," he deadpans.
Thackery says his idea of a good audience is one that's on its feet – dancing. A polite, seated audience "means people are paying attention to what you are playing," he says, but &qu
ot;the feedback we get back is better when everybody's out boogie-ing."

Concert details
The St. Thomas concert Friday begins at 8 p.m. in Tillett Gardens, presented by Arts Alive. Tickets are $25, with reserved cabaret-style seating. There will not be a prix fixe, pre-performance dinner with concert seating. Instead, Polli's Mexican Restaurant in the garden will offer its regular dinner menu until 10 p.m. to patrons at tables in the restaurant and a limited menu of light food to those seated in the garden. The Polli's bar will remain open throughout the evening.
For reservations and further details, call 775-1929, fax to 775-9482, or e-mail to www.tillettgardens.com.
For information on the St. John and St. Croix concerts, click, respectively, on St. John Things to Do and St. Croix Things to Do.

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Blues guitarist Jimmy Thackery, who's performing Thursday on St. John, Friday on St. Thomas and Saturday on St. Croix, needs your help. Well, at least he's asking for it.
No, actually he needs it.
Like most Baby Boomers in the public eye who haven't already done so, he is developing a web site, and it's an unabashed work in progress.
Visit www.jamthack.com and you'll understand. Here's all it says, essentially promoting his new CD:
"Jim Gaines [his three-time CD producer, a Grammy winner who has also worked with Stevie Ray Vaughn, Steve Miller and Santana] and Jimmy Thackery are reunited on ‘Sinner Street' and the results speak for themselves. Jimmy's guitar playing has never been hotter and songs like ‘Lovin' My Money,' ‘Hundreds Into Ones' and ‘Million Dollar Bill' are some of his wittiest thus far. The sound of the band has an exciting new dimension, provided by sax man and newest Driver Jimmy Carpenter. Two instrumentals, the swinging title cut and the Peter Green-like ‘Blues 'Fore Dawn,' are true highlights. Jimmy Thackery's career has produced many highly acclaimed recordings, but ‘Sinner Street' is destined to outshine them all.
"That's about all until next time…..jimmy
"help me with the page
"what do we need to do..."
So, feel free to offer suggestions – online, or in person while he's in the V.I.
Now, about the man, the music and the gigs on our islands ...
Thackery has been playing professionally for three decades and has been doing so in the Virgin Islands for going on two. What he plays is a blend of blues/rock, urban blues, acoustic blues and "a splash of contemporary zydeco," according to his biography.
He grew up in Washington, D.C., where, as a teenager, he was impressed by Buddy Guy performing in a church and then blown away by Jimi Hendrix letting loose in his first gig after getting kicked off the Monkees tour.
In 1972, Thackery connected with harmonica player Mark Wenner to form the Nighthawks, a band that would become one of the most popular blues groups in the country. After being on the road 300 nights a year for 14 years, he decided in 1987 to give it a rest, but that didn't last long. Soon he had a new six-piece group, The Assassins, in action. The band made three critically acclaimed albums before it broke up in 1991.
Meantime, in 1985, he recorded an acoustic duet album, "Sideways in Paradise," with slide guitar master John Mooney in Jamaica. A Blues Access critic praised his "remarkable facility here for the acoustic setting ... The players trade National steel guitars and mandolins, and explode the barriers of possibility for traditional acoustic music." (The album was reissued on the Blind Pig label in 1993.)
Next, to put his guitar pyrotechnics back in the spotlight, Thackery formed the Drivers – just him, a bass player and a drummer. Their first release, "Empty Arms Motel," for Blind Pig in 1992, wowed critics, won them new fans and became one of the top blues titles of the year. There've been five other CD's since, including "Sinner Street" and the one live album, "Wild Night Out!" recorded in Detroit and released by Blind Pig in 1995. Guitar Player magazine called that one "a watershed of industrial-strength roots rock" and Blues Revue hailed Thackery for the "depth and breadth of his awesome ability."
The band grew to four members two years ago with the addition of saxophonist Jimmy Carpenter, a veteran bluesman who had been crossing paths with Thackery for years. Since then, he, bass player Ken Faltinson and drummer Mark Stutso have been the boys in the band.
Thackery says he decided to approach "Sinner Street" differently in terms of recording sessions: "Instead of putting all the material together in one basket and running into the studio and recording it real fast, we would take time out, record pieces of material in groups, and then live with it for a while until we decided where we wanted to go with the next group of tunes, thereby giving ourselves a sense of direction."
Recorded in Memphis, the album consists "mostly of songs that I wrote or co-wrote with Keith Sykes," he says.
Robert Murphy, reviewing the album for Blues on Stage online, offers this assessment: "The opening cut, ‘Grab the Rafters,' is reminiscent of the Blues Brothers with its horns ... ‘Bad News' goes back in time a bit to almost a '50s jazz blues time frame with backing horns and the back-and-forth interplay of the guitar with the horns. ‘Sinner Street,' the title cut, is an instrumental ... a driving guitar sound with soulful horns on top with just a hint of surf sound, very different and familiar at the same time ... ‘Lovin' My Money' is vintage Thackery with a basic blues beat ... ‘Chained to the Blues Line' is straight out of '60s Motown with modern production. ‘Havin' A Heart' is a slow number, also vintage Thackery but with more background vocals and horns added. The last song on the CD, ‘Blues 'Fore Dawn,' is a slow, grinding blues instrumental with great guitar work."
The album should be available at the St. John, St. Thomas and St. Croix concerts.
Thackery is no stranger to any of the three islands, although he is performing at venues new to him. In the early 1980s, he played with the Nighthawks at the old Barnacle Bill's on St. Thomas. Ironically, he'll be introduced in Tillett Gardens Friday night by Bill Grogan, Arts Alive concerts technical director and master of ceremonies, who owned and operated Barnacle Bill's until the government pulled the plug on his government-land lease a few years ago.
He was vacationing on Virgin Gorda even before that and remembers the St. Thomas of 25 years ago, when it was "a little more colloquial." He's been a repeat performer at the Green House more recently, the last time two years ago.
Thackery has played on St. Croix in a number of bookings arranged by Charlie Campbell. In the late '90s, these included a couple of January one-day blues festivals Campbell put together utilizing the talent that sailed into the Frederiksted harbor aboard ships making a "blues cruise." The last one was in 1998, and it was memorable.
"Jimmy was playing at height of his show" in the Paul E. Joseph Stadium, Campbell recalls. "The stage was about 5 feet off the ground, he jumped off, and he landed on his foot wrong. He was on his back in pain – but he didn't miss a beat. The crowd kind of gathered around and helped him back on his feet. He got back onstage and finished the set."
It was the next day before he went to the hospital. That evening he amazed those who knew what had happened, keeping his performance date in King's Alley, walking on with his foot in a cast and playing sitting down.
As for St. John, Thackery remembers well his gig at Skinny Legs a few years back. It was quintessential Coral Bay: "The gear they provided me was basically like a Zenith TV and a boom box," he says, "and I had somebody go get me something else, and what they brought me was ancient but it worked. I remember that the crowd was really big, and everybody had a blast."
One of the guitars Thackery is playing on this tour is his 1964 Fender Stratocaster that disappeared, along with a less valuable custom guitar, backstage after a concert in Kansas City last summer. The Strat, which turned up a couple days after the incident, is one he's played for more than 20 years. Now, "I keep my eye on it," he deadpans.
Thackery says his idea of a good audience is one that's on its feet – dancing. A polite, seated audience "means people are paying attention to what you are playing," he says, but &qu ot;the feedback we get back is better when everybody's out boogie-ing."

Concert details
The St. Thomas concert Friday begins at 8 p.m. in Tillett Gardens, presented by Arts Alive. Tickets are $25, with reserved cabaret-style seating. There will not be a prix fixe, pre-performance dinner with concert seating. Instead, Polli's Mexican Restaurant in the garden will offer its regular dinner menu until 10 p.m. to patrons at tables in the restaurant and a limited menu of light food to those seated in the garden. The Polli's bar will remain open throughout the evening.
For reservations and further details, call 775-1929, fax to 775-9482, or e-mail to www.tillettgardens.com.
For information on the St. John and St. Croix concerts, click, respectively, on St. John Things to Do and St. Croix Things to Do.