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The Big Come Up

The Big Come Up

May 20, 2002
4.6 out of 5 stars 119 customer reviews

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The Big Come Up
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. S. Hillis on February 5, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Take a big chunk of blues rock, throw it in a sack with some Cream-era Eric Clapton, a bit of Jimi Hendrix, a pinch of Stevie Ray Vaughn and a hint of Creedence. Shake vigorously, deep fry until extra-crunchy.

Akron, Ohio duo The Black Keys followed just this recipe for their minimalist debut album, with results that are nothing short of amazing.

Guitarist/vocalist Dan Auerbach's fingers canter up and down blues scales with ease, and his fuzz dial is obviously set to "11". His sandpapery pipes sound as if he's guzzled whisky and puffed filterless Camels for far longer than his 20-some-odd years would allow. This guy has no business be able to sing like this.

Auerbach is perfectly complemented by Patrick Carney's enthusiastic pounding of the skins, which is never, ever relegated to just providing a background beat. As producer, Carney is also largely to thank for the Keys's distinctive gritty bootleg sound that sounds as if you're spinning a dusty 45 unearthed in the back of some record shop.

The pair come barreling out of the gate with the very first track, "Busted", an energetic number that immediately gives notice to listeners that this band is about scorching, unapologetic blues.

From there, they move into the down-and dirty "Do the Rump" and on to the slightly Creedence-ish "I'll Be Your Man." A few tracks later is another straight-up blues song, "Run Me Down", which leads into "Leavin' Trunk", an incredible song that sounds like it could have been an undiscovered Cream gem. Then it's into the ultra-fuzzed out "Heavy Soul". Their cover of The Beatles' "She Said She Said" is nothing short of amazing. It is the perfect cover -- reimagining a classic while remaining true to its heart and soul.
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Format: Audio CD
Words cannot express how great this disc is or how great The Black Keys are. The Big Come Up is rooted firmly in the hypnotic North Missippi hill country blues brought to attention by RL Burnside and Junior Kimbrough. This disc is proof positive that blues music, REAL blues music, knows no color or geography. It doesn't matter who you are or where you're from, If you get it...YOU GET IT!!!!!!!!!! Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney HAVE IT. The playing, and more importantly, feeling are 100% genuine. Singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach doesn't play many solos and isn't concerned with technical brilliance or how fast he can play or how many scales he knows. He doesn't consider himself 'the midpoint between Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix' (as one popular blues wanker once stated). Real blues musicians know style, "THEIR" style, is more important than mindless aping and idol worship. Dan's style echoes many great bluesmen but comes out all HIS. I can think of no greater compliment to pay a blues artist. Drummer Patrick Carney concentrates on rythmic FORCE. At one time, that's how blues players ACTUALLY played. No kidding.
To sum up: Buy this album and thank your lucky stars that bands like The Black Keys are out there doing it the way it should be done
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The Black keys are a two piece outfit that not only take inspiration from Blues artists such as `R.L Burnside', `Howlin Wolf', and the rock stylisation of `Hendrix' & a little bit of funk, they've created a deceptively powerful album that deserves a truly wider audience. Dan Auerbach (guitar) is something of a revelation, coaxing huge bursts of Southern Blues Guitar groove that takes in elements of Funk, soul and more importantly Garage-rock, but undoubtedly it's mainstay is tightly woven blues that remain authentic, but by having a handle on these other genres (Funk, Soul...etc) they avoid repetition and Blues clichés, and stand out as individual artists in their own right. If you liked the `White Stripes' (yes, I know virtually every reviewer here has mentioned them), then think of this a grittier, more authentic integration of Blues into their two piece sound, and thus maybe not as immediate accessible as the White Stripes. If anything it's in some ways closer to "The John Spencer Blues Explosion's" more groove laden moments. But either way this is a superbly executed album that feels way more competent than any short sighted `White Stripes' comparisons, and if you like your Blues passionate, Energetic, Fiery, Smart and above all organic, the Black Keys have delivered an album that's going to be hard to beat.
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The Big Come Up is it. The Keys' first LP, and some say their best. They combine garage rock and hardcore blues for a sound that just resonates with ache. With absolutely no image, the Black Keys, obviously not doing it for the money, just play all of themselves into the music that we hear, and there isn't one single song on this album that doesn't show it. Words can't even describe the feeling that goes over me when I hear this music. I fall into another dimension, float away from my suburban youth self, and fall into bluesy-rock. I had this album in my CD player for more than a month and couldn't stop listening to it. (I bought several albums that month that didn't recieve very much playtime.) The Keys just have this effect on you. This is a must have for anyone who listens to... well, music. If you don't own it already, I would probably give you the money right out of my wallet so you could buy it. It's just that good. (And try to get any other rock duos out of your head. The Black Keys have absolutely nothing to do with them. They don't look like them. They don't sound like them. Why? Because they are The Black Keys.)
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