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Articles Home » 2013 Articles » Judge Jackson - 2013 6
Judge Jackson - 2013 6

ARTIST: Judge Jackson
LABEL: Curtis Joe Records
YEAR: 2013
SPONSOR: Head First Entertainment


LINEUP: Tood McTavish - vocals * Lee Jackson - guitars * Brian James - bass, backing vocals * J.J Garcia - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Top Of The World * 02 Done * 03 Keep On Truckin' * 04 Hold You Tonight * 05 Dynamite * 06 My Word * 07 Born Free * 08 Cool * 09 Rise * 10 January Blues * 11 Laid To Rest * 12 #13 * 13 Suck It Up * 14 California



After all the recent southern rock album reviews from David Shaw, I came across a band who I thought were a dead-ringer for that same genre. Seems I was mistaken, as Judge Jackson are based in Los Angeles, and not from some far flung southern locale, and mix up a whole bunch of hard rockin' styles that aren't necessarily southern rock per se. As they say, you shouldn't (excuse the pun) 'judge' a book by its cover, and long time fans of the band have had five previous albums of material to play with, while this is our first excursion as we head into the world of Judge Jackson. Formed as far back as 1997, JJ are based around guitarist Lee Jackson, while singer Todd McTavish (originally from Canada) adds his versatile vocals to the mix. The band are complimented by the rhythm section of Brian James and J.J Garcia. As mentioned, this is the band's sixth outing, most of them released on their own label Curtis Joe Records.

The Songs
This band wear a long sleeve of influences across their arms. Press and media reviews would indicate that bands such as Tesla, Lynyrd Skynyrd and particularly Guns N Roses are ready-made comparisons, and judging (there's that root word again!) by the fourteen tracks on offer, they wouldn't be far wrong. Singer McTavish holds much of the direction, with his vocal prowess bringing to mind guys such as Axl Rose and James Hetfield. As a result, the JJ soundscape shifts constantly. Most of the songs are pretty short, hovering around the 2 and 3 minute mark. We get the groove rocker 'Top Of The World', or the acoustic ballad 'Hold You Tonight' which morphs into a Slash styled GnR affair. 'My Word' is a rough n ready number, while for something different, 'Cool' is a very laid back tune with acoustic and slide guitar prevalent. A song just right for a hot summers day! 'Laid To Rest' follows similarly, acoustic wise. As per the songtitle, 'January Blues' moves Judge Jackson into blues territory with ease, a sassy and raucous style on display. 'Suck It Up' is two and half minutes of high energy rock, the album completed by the acoustic/electric hybrid 'California'.

In Summary
Judge Jackson have run their own race for over fifteen or so years now. They've also shared the stage with some big-hitters too. Six albums is a significant output for any band (just ask Boston!) so that's something not to be sneezed at. I can imagine this lot would do well playing gigs at biker convention/rallies such as Sturgis, as well as everywhere across the Western divide. They're not quite in the southern rock genre as their name might suggest, but have enough variety to be of interest to those of you into those crossover sub-genres of rock.

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