ARTIST: Gary Clark, Jr.
TITLE: Black and Blu
YEAR RELEASED: 2012
CHART ACTION: #6 US, #44 UK
SINGLES: Bright Lights (#29 Adult Alternative), Ain’t Messin’ Around (#10 Adult Alternative)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Third Stone from the Sun
LINEUP: Gary Clark, Jr., Mike Elizondo, Zac Rae, JJ Johnson, Scott Nelson, and others.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Guitar wonderkind releases his first major solo album that straddles many genres.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Gary Clark, Jr. made his name as a guitarist. As time went on, and reputation grew, he started a solo career (he had two very small albums released early on in his career that really have vanished, probably for good reason) and put together a sound which encapsulates many other genres, such as blues, rock, soul, R&B, and hip-hop.
This album covers the whole gamut of those styles and indluences, and also shows off his guitar work (especially on his cover of “Third Stone from the Sun”). It’s remarkable how wide a range he covers in these tracks.
But there’s an antiseptic feeling here – and a feeling that he needed to cut down some of his showman-like solos in the studio. So it’s not perfect, but it’s a good start for an artist that will be a force for a long time as he improves songwriting and tightens up his jammy excesses.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: He also released a mix-tape of version and remixes in 2014..
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, two extra tracks on the Deluxe version, and those tracks are pretty decent.
GRADE B: Impressive, but flawed in a way. Still, worth hearing.