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Jook Bourke – Up All Night | Album Review

Jook Bourke – Up All Night
Self-produced CD
12 songs – 37 minutes

Multi-instrumentalist Jook Bourke bridges the gap between blues and jazz with this interesting collection of original material after a career that’s featured the release of two previous acoustic blues CDs.

Hailing from Pittsburgh, Pa., but now living in Satellite Beach, Fla., he’s the son of big band clarinetist/sax player and bandleader Patty Bourke. A horn player like his father, he also shows prowess on horns, harmonica, keyboards and guitar in addition to providing vocals as he fronts the tight four-piece electric ensemble on “Up All Night.”

The album is both reunion of old friends and a tribute to musical forebears. Drummer Mike Wilps’ father Shack played the skins in a succession of bands with Patty. Both of the dads are featured in photos that grace the CD cover and interior art. And guitarist/keyboard player/percussionist Donn Overly and bassist Ron Grkman also are old friends from the Keystone State. Tim Renshaw also contributes to the sound with a guest appearance on piano.

If you’re a fan of the New York based blues/fusion group Hasmat Modine, you’ll enjoy the kickoff tune, “Precious Eyes.” It begins with a haunting horn line as Bourke sings the praises about a lady: “What you got behind those eyes/You can’t talk/You can’t tell lies./I have seen this look before/I never knew if I’d see some more.” The tune swings from the jump.

A traditional blues sax line introduces “What Am I Gonna Do?” as the vocalist relates his concerns about coming face-to-face with true love. It’s a slow blues perfect for making time on the dance floor. The title track, “Up All Night,” follows. It’s uptempo with a Latin back beat and relates difficulties dealing with daytime problems after a sleepless night. The modern blues “Two Will Nicely Do” follows. It’s a paean to a quality relationship.

“Come On Man” questions the actions of someone acting ridiculously. A bluesy horn line carries the tune from beginning to end with guitar adding counterpoint rhythm. The mood darkens for “Ain’t No Body Knows,” dealing with the reality of being an adult and finding that hard work doesn’t necessarily bring expected rewards. Bourke’s vocals and Wilps’ drums propel the song. The uplifting “Capable Woman” follows, telling the tale of a lady who basically provides an antidote for the previous song.

If you’re single, you may relate to “Pizza Bones.” It’s tongue-in-cheek and gospel-tinged with a slight country feel and deals with the disgust the singer feels when looking into his refrigerator only to find nothing but stale crust in the pizza box. “A Gift For Everyday” returns the disc to its blues-jazz root. It sings the praises of the joy everyone feels because of “you being you.”

“Toby Love (The Cat)” details a case of feline envy. The singer’s woman is showing far more love to the critter than her human companion. It’s a perfect lead-in to “There She Goes,” in which Bourke displays his harmonica chops and the lady proves that her promise to leave was true. The disc finishes with “Thunder Comin,’” a steady-rocking autobiography of growing up in Pennsylvania when the boom ended in mining country.

Although it’s not your standard one-four-five blues, the disc swings steadily with well-conceived new material throughout. Bourke’s music touches down on many bases, and it’s definitely worth a listen. Available through Amazon and CDBaby.com. 

Review by Marty Gunther

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