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Blak and Blu

4.2 out of 5 stars 415 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 22, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

In addition to 12 of Clark's original compositions, Blak and Blu also features a 13th song - a blistering cover of Little Johnny Taylor's (popularized by Albert Collins), "If You Love Me Like You Say / Third Stone From The Sun" (Jimi Hendrix) is actually a complete reworking of the song utilizing the Hendrix riff reinterpreted by Clark. The result is an extraordinary hybrid of the two ideas that breathes new fire to an old favorite.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 22, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Bros.
  • ASIN: B0096PAA6E
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (415 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,442 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jason S. Stokar on October 25, 2012
Format: Audio CD
I am a bit surprised by all of the ambivalent reviewers on Amazon. This album is remarkable from start to finish and I'm not finding any dull tracks whatsoever.

First, let's get something clear. Gary Clark Jr. is not a newcomer as some people are suggesting. He has several self-released albums which for some reason are not available on Amazon but I have in my iTunes library: Worry No More, 110, Gary Clark Jr. and the commercially released Bright Lights EP. Those releases sound like demos compared to 'Blak and Blu' - which offers rich instrumental arrangements and seamlessly unites the classic with the modern.

The production is diverse and provides a fusion of so many different influences and genres: a creature that's part Jimi Hendrix, part Gov't Mule, part Amorica/Three Snakes-era Black Crowes, and a tablespoon of Ben Harper, while interstitially placing songs resonating classic Muddy Waters and even Marvin Gaye ("Please Come Home" is the modern-day "Distant Lover"). And his guitar solos? Please. He hits each one with such conviction and emotion that you can't but shake your head in amazement.

This album is The Truth. Clark hasn't gone 'commercial'-- for crying out loud several of the tracks are over seven-and-a-half minutes long. This is an expression of a true Bluesman, and I believe this is a work that will be influential to a new generation of rock musicians.

Please, pick up this record and listen through it, and I assure you that you'll be pleased.
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Format: Audio CD
I saw Gary Clark Jr perform on the first day of Chicago leg of the Dave Matthews Band Caravan last summer (July 8, 2011), and I have been waiting for him to release a full album ever since that day. Shortly after Gary Clark Jr started playing that day I knew that I would be buying any album he released on day one. Until today, I had been living off a fan's audience recording of Clark Jr's performance at the Caravan, but now I have an entire album and a wider variety of music to experience.

But enough about me. Here is my take on the album:

The tracks range from up tempo (Ain't Messin' 'Round; Travis County) to a bit of hip hop (Blak and Blu, The Life) to blues (Bright Lights) to a "crunchy" cover of 'Third Stone from the Sun.' I love the throw back to the Chuck Berry style guitar in 'Travis County,' and even though it is the second shortest song on the album it is one of my favorites already. 'Bright Lights' is one of the biggest highlights from the first time I heard Gary Clark Jr, so I was excited to see it included on this album and it does not disappoint. Finally, I want to comment on 'Next Door Neighbor Blues.' As soon as that track started playing I immediately thought of Robert Johnson and other early blues artists. It sounds like it was recorded in the studio next to Johnson back in the '30s, and I mean that in the best way possible. You can really hear the influence that old-time blues has had on Clark Jr not only in the recording style of this song, but also in story in the lyrics and the way he plays his acoustic guitar. It is truly one of the gems of the album.

I have been through the album twice, and it will be playing on a loop in my car and on my iPod for the next day or so before settling into my regular rotation.

Overall, if you're a fan of excellent guitar work with a heavy blues influence, you should pick up a copy of 'Blak and Blu.'
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Format: Audio CD
Having listened to Gary Clark Jr.'s EPs extensively and getting a chance to see him live this year at Lollapalooza, my expectations for this album were almost impossibly high. He is the first guitarist in a long time who can do things with the guitar that truly blow me away, and his Lolla performance gave me the kind of chills I expected after hearing his EPs and understanding what he was capable of.

So it comes as no great surprise that his first major studio-album has left somewhat of a sour taste in my mouth after a few start-to-finish listens. The album starts with blaring horns more reminiscent of a Bruce Springsteen album than someone who has the chance to be this generation's Hendrix. And those horns would serve as an unfortunate omen to the rest of the album - an incredibly overproduced, glaringly obvious attempt to appeal to the masses.

In some ways I can't blame Gary or his producers for putting out something like this. In this age of piracy and pop garbage it's becoming increasingly harder for "real" musicians to make a living. And there are certainly moments on the album that succeed in exhibiting Gary's unbelievable talents (Particularly: When My Train Pulls In, Glitter Ain't Gold, Numb, Third Stone From the Sun, You Saved Me and of course Bright Lights, though I prefer the rawer EP version to this album's version). But mixed within these gems are some songs that I'm not even convinced Gary Clark Jr. himself likes - particularly The Life (which was listenable on the EP version, borderline-embarrassing on this album) and the title track (am I listening to R. Kelly?).
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