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Blak And Blu

4.2 out of 5 stars 116 customer reviews

Price: £7.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (25 Feb. 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: WARNER BROS
  • ASIN: B0096PAA6E
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,617 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

Blak and Blu is the long-awaited debut album from Texan-born guitarist and singer-songwriter Gary Clark Jr, who came to prominence in 2010 with his EP and track of the same name, "Bright Lights".

"May be the next Hendrix" - New York Times.

BBC Review

The heart of Gary Clark, Jr. isn’t tough to find. At his core, the Texas-born guitarist continues the spirit of Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Hazel: his piercing chords can tell a story without words on top of them.

Clearly, Clark appreciates the past, since much of Blak and Blu is rooted in some sort of musical yesteryear. Please Come Home, for instance, is a wistful melody evoking 1960s soul.

On Third Stone from the Sun/If You Love Me Like You Say, Clark modernises the Jimi and Albert Collins classics with clean percussion and faint record scratches. The result properly showcases Clark’s dexterity as a vocalist and instrumentalist.

His focus is tougher to grasp, though. While Blak and Blu is ambitious, it lacks a coherent theme. There’s nothing wrong with honouring influences, but his approach wanders a bit too much.

He exerts pysch-rock (Numb), nods to modern RnB (Things are Changin’), and concludes with distilled bayou blues (Next Door Neighbor Blues). Elsewhere, Clark tinkers with brassy arrangements on Ain’t Messin’ ‘Round and country on Travis County.

Overall, this feels more like a fragmented collection of songs than a calculated set. It’s easy to pick favourite tracks, and that’s a good thing. But the album as a whole isn’t so compelling. In Clark’s quest to capture multiple sounds, his direction is unclear.

That’s not to knock his artistry: Blak and Blu brightens dramatically when Clark shreds his guitar. On When My Train Pulls In, for instance, he sings despondently about finding new beginnings; and the song’s three-minute guitar solo accentuates the despair.

Numb is edgy throughout: atop methodical drums, Clark’s strums — grittier than usual — are distorted just enough to solidify a hazy feel. He resonates when the sounds are grungy; unfortunately though, those moments are too few.

What remains is an adequate compilation of nostalgic sounds, largely void of Clark’s unique voice. Greater consistency would have worked wonders.

--Marcus J. Moore

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'm not great at writing reviews on music - so even though I buy lots of cds I rarely review them. I was really impressed with Gary Clark - he plays in a variety of styles from soul, jazz-funk through to some country type stuff. I'm not too keen on country but every track is slick, well produced and played and one feels that the music means something to him. I am in my 50s and a product of the prog and symphonic rock of the early 70's and soul from the same period so what really works for me is music that the writers/performers care about, that it means something to them, that it has soul (even if it is prog-rock) and Gary Clarke's music has soul.
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Format: Audio CD
I first heard of Gary Clark Jr due to very frequent, persistent but never tiring promoting of said artist by Epiphone. Clark uses Epiphone Archtop guitars and due to his sucess Epiphone has plastered him all over their newsletters. I am glad they did. I sampled his work by purchasing the Bright Lights E.P. and liked his sound quite alot. After that, I got my hands on the Gary Clark E.P., which featured some more great songs. Finally I got my hands on Blak And Blu and was very excited by my purchase. However, my initial reaction to the album was not very positive. There were alot of songs that were vastly inferior to what I had heard and expected of this musician. After repeated listenings I realized that there is some really great material recorded here, but that suprisingly are drowwned ou towards the end of the album, while some of the worst songs are placed in front and center. "Blak and Blu", "The Life" and "Travis County" - the worst songs of the album that merited at best to be featured as bonus tracks - are placed in the begginning of the album. So the tracklisting is the first issue I have with this album as it may deter people from buying it if they stick to listening to the first 6 tracks.
My other problem were that the recorded version of the songs "Please Come Home" and "Things Are Changin" on this album are vastly inferior to the ones available on Clark's previous E.P's due to overproduction. Their live and underproduced previously recorded versions are alot better. That's my second issue with this album.
And in comes my third issue. I have bought the deluxe version with two added bonus tracks which are really good songs that merited to be included on the main album and should have replaced "Blak and Blu", "The Life" and "Travis County" which are far inferior.
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Having seen GCJ live in summer 2012 i couldn't wait for this album to be released. Unfortunately it doesn't live up to what I saw and felt that night I saw his live set. I found the album disjointed and feel he's trying to be too many things to too many people. There's far too many genres crammed into it and in my opinion he needs to stick to what he's amazing at...blues rock. Great live artist but I know he can do better than this! Come on Gary give us what so many of us adore you for.
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Format: MP3 Download
The campaign for Gary Clark Jr has received a Presidential endorsement from the White House with Barack Obama describing him as "the future" and Classic Rock endowing "Blak and Blu" with 10 out of 10. The weight of this praise is enormous and separating the reality from the hyperbole is important for while Gary Clark Jr is a great prospect this album as a musical whole does not live up to the fanfare. The problem is Clark Jr's desire not to be pigeon holed as a pure blues guitarist which is to be admired, but as a result this album lacks any sense of coherence with its sheer multiplicity of styles and often weak songs. The boisterous opener "Ain't messin around" is a classic example; yes it contains a blistering solo from Clark Jr but it repeats the chorus ad nauseam and frankly is the sort of song that sounds much better on stage than record. In a completely different league is the Cream influenced "When my train pulls in" a vintage piece of slow thundering blues where all Clark Jr's skills are on full display not least a great vocal style and solos flying off like lighting strikes. He is venturing into an area which is already populated with premier division guitarists like Dan Auerbach and Joe Bonamassa but he holds his own in this company and this seven minutes is possibly the finest on the record, although the later funky blues of "Bright lights" is also very good. Sadly the title track doesn't match this feat. It is essentially throwaway funk and some have already noticed the resemblance to singers like Anthony Hamilton and John Legend. Equally do we really need a rerun of every Chuck Berry cliche in the book on "Travis County" which is at heart the riff from Johnny B Goode including the guitar solo!Read more ›
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From time to time a fresh breeze makes its announcement within the bluesrock community. Gary Clark jr. is an example.

The record contains a good mix of traditional style blues(rock) music upgraded to the second decade of the 21st Century. The record contains a lot: Catchy classical guitarrifs in albume opener 'Ain't Messin 'Round' keeps Peter Green's "Stop Messing Around' alive but withouth the horns. It's a catchy up-tempo tune. Some traditional rolling-like-a-slow-train guitarrifs in the strong 'When my Train pulls in' and in the faster bluescountryrocker 'Travis county'. But you will also hear some heavy guitarlines in Hendrix-style 'Numb'. The sweet bluessoul songs 'Please come home' and 'Things are a changing' contain soulguitar with for the first one slightly, very nice falsetto-voice. Finally modern bassrhtyhms in the excellent modernblues and personal favorite 'The life'.

Gary Clark jr. shows within one record he's capable playing different styles. For some who prefer a artist to play only one or two styles the record will be a little bit to much differences. For me, it works very well. Having plays the record several times, it still sounds fresh.
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