Jackyl – Best In Show (2012)

Posted: July 31, 2012 in Music

When the gates open in Mack, CO on August 24th for this season’s installment of Rock Jam, fans will be scrambling to their seats and the many beer tents to take in two days of hot weather and even hotter rock and roll. The main acts this year are arguably the best they’ve ever been with KISS, Motley Crue, Three Doors Down and Theory of a Deadman taking the stage under the lights. But turning the large, vacant pasture into Western Colorado’s biggest party of the year starts around lunchtime for the dedicated rockers in the crowd, and underneath the glam and glitz of the headliners, this year’s lineup features a few diamonds in the rough definitely worth shaking off the hangover for.

The opening acts on Saturday this time around bring a lot more to the table than just filling time slots and space on the poster. Slaughter (who has rocked the event before) gets things started at 1:00 and the rest of the afternoon features metal legends Quiet Riot and southern rockers Black Stone Cherry. Smack dab in the middle of this rock and roll sandwich, though, is where you will find the meat – and that juicy slab comes in the form of American rockers Jackyl.

Led by the enigmatic Jesse James Dupree (who has found his way back into the spotlight by being featured on TruTV’s hit show Full Thottle Saloon), the band is set to have one memorable year. Not only are they celebrating 20 years of raising hell (their self-titled debut was released in 1992), but the band has also just released their 6th studio album Best In Show. While many acts from the 80s and 90s have adapted to the changes in the musical soundscape over the decades, you’ll be glad to know that such is not the case here – it’s still the same whiskey swillin’ piss-and-vinegar sound the band has always been known for. The sound, if you need the comparison, is best described as an “AC/DC-meets-Lynyrd Skynyrd” hybrid with a little crude humor thrown in for good measure. And let’s not forget the chainsaw (but more on that in a bit)…

While I could write page after page about the band’s history, their past hits, or their legendary antics both on and off the stage, we’re here to review the new album – and that’s exactly what we are going to do.

Best In Show opens with the title track, and Dupree and gang strap on the holsters and come out firing. Smooth, groove-laden guitars clear the way for an assault of drums and Jesse’s signature gasoline-gargled wails. Immediately, you know that this album is far superior to the bands last effort (2010’s When Moonshine and Dynamite Collide), and why the hell not? If you’re going to make a statement, make it loud and proud – and that’s exactly what this track offers.

Following the opener is “Encore,” which has the group’s trademark “hit machine” running on overdrive. A country-tinged rocker with a simple sing along chorus will make this a crowd favorite for sure. There isn’t anything too complicated or special here, but everyone is precise throughout – and it’s a clean, fun song.

The first single off the disc is “Screwdriver,” which boasts the typical play on words from the “Down On Me” era, and carries the same type of sexual innuendos that made that track unforgettable. The guitars drive hard and heavy, and Dupree keeps the vocal guns ablaze, as he hasn’t lost a thing in twenty years of performing.

The rest of the album follows the familiar pattern of most Jackyl albums. “Show Us Your Horns,” “Golden Spookytooth” and “Favorite Sin” are straight-ahead rockers, while “Walk My Mile” and “Don’t Lay Down On Me” soften things up with near-ballad approach (the latter sounding an awful lot like Guns n’ Roses). But don’t let the groupings trick you into thinking the rest of the album is generic or lackluster. All of the aforementioned tracks hold their own, but I wanted to save a little space here to address three of the albums later tracks individually.

You probably remember the folk rock classic “Cover of a Rolling Stone.” Jackyl digs their hooks deep into this remake, and slather it with country-western twang for one memorable ride. Not only do they pay great tribute to Dr. Hook (and a nod towards Queen as well with the “We Will Rock You” hand claps), but actually find a way to pay tribute to themselves with yet another chainsaw solo (everyone remember “The Lumberjack Song”?)

Deep down the tracklist you’ll find “Better Than Chicken” – which must be heard to appreciate – that finds the band turning up the groove to 10 and turning up the lewdness even higher. There are not many words I’m not willing to type or say, but this track has a couple that even this mother trucker finds taboo – and it’s hilarious.

Closing out the album is another remake, but this time they pull a complete 180 on the country and throw down some old school rap. With the help of half the original Run-DMC, Jackyl give “It’s Tricky” a whirl. While it may not be as prolific as the Aerosmith/DMC “Walk This Way,” it shows that Dupree is still having a blast being a badass (he’d kick Steven Tyler’s ass, anyway). And that encapsulates Jackyl. You sense that these guys are still having fun and living the life as rock stars, partying every stop along the way.

Will you hear most of these songs on the band’s current tour? Probably not – but it’s definitely an album to add to your hard rock collection. And if you plan on making the trek to Mack at the end of the month, don’t miss seeing these guys live. They may play a little early, and they may be a little greasy, but they will undoubtedly steal the show and leave their mark. Guaranteed.

8/10

Tracklist:

01. Best in Show
02. Encore
03. Screwdriver
04. Horns Up
05. Golden Spookytooth
06. Cover of the Rolling Stone
07. Walk My Mile
08. Favorite Sin
09. Better Than Chicken
10. Don’t Lay Down On Me
11. Eleven
12. It’s Tricky

Buy at Amazon

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