King: No amps or band made you really have to go for it. You have nothing to hide behind.

Kubek: We had 12 original songs ready to go, that we had busted our butts on, and we added two more. We pulled out a Ramblin' Thomas song from 1928 or '29 and a Texas Alexander song from the same era and ended up with a 14-song CD. We have a lot of other guitar players on this album, all playing acoustic: Kirk Fletcher, Shawn Pittman, Paul Size, all under the watchful eyes of the amplifier police. We have some light drums with Jimi Bott. Willie C. Campbell is on acoustic bass. There's some harmonica and piano on a few cuts, but for the most part it is just duo, maybe duo with some harp. This is different from anything we've done before.

You guys are such road dogs, you seem to burn through rhythm sections pretty quick. Any idea how many you have had in the past 23 years?

Face off: Smokin' Joe Kubek (left) and Bnois King.
Courtesy of Delta Groove
Face off: Smokin' Joe Kubek (left) and Bnois King.

Kubek: We lost count long ago. There have been a lot. We just had to let our last rhythm section go. We had this one cat who had been playing with us for two years. We found out he didn't know who Willie Dixon was! People are going to think I'm acting like Albert King or something, but I had to let him go!

King: We were in New York state. We were setting up for the gig and I brought up something about Willie Dixon. He said, "Who?" Everything stopped dead. Even the club owner, who was setting up the sound, stopped what he was doing and looked around. I asked him, "Are you for real?" He really didn't know. A guy in a blues band who doesn't know who Willie Dixon was. Even most rock and roll musicians know who Willie Dixon was! That was the last straw.

Kubek: That broke my heart. I asked him a week later if he ever looked into it and he hadn't. I found out he was listening to everything but blues. I just had to let him go.

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