East Side Slim
Mack Jump – Drivin' All Night
Mack Jump – Drivin' All Night
Jumpstreet/Three Eye, 2006
When you turn a CD case over and you see the words "Lose the word "genre"!" in extra large font, you have a pretty good idea that you may be in for an interesting ride – or for a twisted wreck. This CD, Drivin' All Night, is definitely the former. It's built on a blues frame, but a few of the parts were borrowed from other models and custom-fit for a unique ride.
Mack Jump is a bluesician based out of Indianapolis, playing regionally throughout that part of the country. On this CD he plays all the instruments, and he multi-tracked several guitar/bass/mandolin parts onto most of the songs. Mack sings in a warm, slightly worn voice, one which exudes much character and is used to good effect in conveying his singular personality and his sense of humor to his music. Some folks might say Mack is unique, and I'd tend to agree with them - and wouldn't change him at all, as his songs (many featuring spoken introductions) are engaging - and a heck of a lot of fun to listen to. The charms of this album grew on me with every listen (excepting those "from the cutting room floor"…sorry Mack, it may have been better to have let those lay), and I think the same thing will happen to each of you!
The Songs: (all words and music by Mack Jump)
1. Radio Goofin'
--this track features Mack goofing around a little bit, serving as an introduction to the CD as a whole.
2. Goin' Down Lewziana
--This is a very catchy, back porch styled blues. It has a jaunty rhythm and features at least 3 various guitar parts tracked into the song – all played by Mack Jump. The song also kicks off the Lucinda saga…Mack had a fixation with the music of Lucinda Williams when he wrote and recorded this CD and she is a recurring theme throughout the album.
3. Drivin' All Night
--This song has a driving tempo and rhythm, definitely conveying the feeling of drivin' down the road. The bass line gives the song an interesting bottom end, enforcing the feeling of being out on the road, and Mack lays in some fine guitar pickin', too.
--There's no secret to Mack's infatuation now…he's in love with Lucinda's songs. This is more a folk ballad than a blues, and it features some nice slide work on the Dobro.
5. Double Back Time
--This hard driving track is all about the groove, or rather, that double back groove. It's a lot of fun to listen to – and in how many songs do you hear lines about "mobius strips"? A mobius strip is as follows: a one-edged geometric surface with only one continuous side formed by giving a 180 degree twist to a narrow, rectangular strip of paper and then connecting the two ends together – Google it!
6. Old Shoe
--After a long, old-timey radio-like introduction to the song, which includes the story of how a friend of his bought a bar (tavern) through the mail, a slightly eccentric but sentimental song ensues. The music is mostly Dobro and synthesized vibraphone, and the lyric talks about being stuck in a bit of a rut, maybe needing a change – maybe a new shoe?
7. Bootleg Boogie
--This is a fun, up-tempo boogie instrumental, once again featuring several guitars and a mandolin multi-tracked by Mack.
8. Tip Walk Mama
--An ode of thanks to the women who enjoy the music so much they feel the need to make sure the musician's tip jar is passed around the room for the entire crowd to contribute to. That tip jar trip may pay the gas to the next gig… The song itself is a gentle, almost Piedmont-sounding tune featuring more of Mack's Dobro slide work.
9. Original Sandy
--This blues tune is definitely on the low-fi, recorded in one take on a portable recorder with built-in mike. It's just Mack singin' and playin' that guitar in a hard delta style.
10. Sixtie's Road
--This fast-paced slide workout is the story of Mack and his buddy hitchhiking from Cleveland to Los Angeles immediately upon graduation from high school, back in the 1960s.
11. Vancy Dancin'
--This is a pretty, interesting, intricately played multi-tracked affair featuring many guitars, mandolin and bass, having a bit of an Appalachian old-timey feel.
12. Comin' Of Age
--We have a mid-tempo folk-blues slide piece, lamenting the undeniable temptations of a very pretty girl.
13. No Rules At All
--"No rules" is right! This one is out there, but it's a lot of fun. It's more carnival music than blues music, but Mack does endorse a "no genre" policy. His slide work is present, as are many different sounds from a hard-worked synthesizer.
14. Lucinda Redeaux
--This is a radically different version of "Lucinda" from track 4. This one is set to a faster tempo (it is not a ballad) giving it a slightly whimsical feel, and includes more "sounds", many courtesy of the synthesizer, including percussion and piano. It's pretty clear that Mack REALLY digs Lucinda Williams!
15. Short Lewziana
--This is a shorter, all synthesized (demo?), more whimsical version of track 3, Goin' Down Lewziana.
16. Electric Michael
--This one is really interesting, and I wish it has been fleshed out into a longer song. It's a beautiful, gentle instrumental played on electric guitar with bass backing. The melody is pretty as well as ear catching, but the song is barely over a minute long. Too bad…
From The Cutting Room Floor:
18. 22 Beers: From Real to Reel
--various non-bluesy snippets and ideas that Mack felt inclined to include on the CD, mostly on the eccentric side of the fence.
If Mack made any profit from the sales of this CD, I hope he threw a little something Lucinda Williams' way! Without her and her songs, this album just couldn't be. Seriously though, this CD, Drivin' All Night, is a very nice effort from Mack Jump. It has a great back porch vibe going, a nice mix of song styles and a bit of an obsession on Lucinda! Let's rate this bad boy – East Side Slim is giving an STLBluesometer rating of 3.50 to Drivin' All Night (with the rating ignoring the cutting room floor tracks.) This disc will grow on you with each listen, so spin it often for maximum reward.
For more information concerning Mack Jump, see the following websites:
Lee Howland - aka "East