**1/2 (out of 4)
If you regularly read music press, you've heard about Gary Clark Jr. and his vintage sound. Regarding the Texas guitarist, the word "blues" gets thrown around a lot. You're going to see a lot of reviews where people call “Blak and Blu” a "blues" album. It isn't.
Clark’s full-length debut is an R&B album with more guitar than you're used to hearing. On multiple times during the record, you think you're getting one style, then you're thrown for a loop on the very next song. Creativity isn't a bad thing, but if I'm being promised the messiah of blues music, I want to hear more ... you know, blues songs. Songs like the title track almost venture into R&B territory at times with Clark crooning all over the very polished-sounding record. Don't get me wrong though; if you want to hear old school chitlin' circuit blues guitar, you'll get it on “Blak and Blu.” So much in fact, that there's a solid 2-minute block of shredding on "When My Train Pulls In" that gets better every time you hear it.
Other standouts include "Glitter and Gold" and a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Third Stone from The Sun" segued into "If You Love Me Like You Say," a piece from blues musician Little Johnny Taylor. Overall this isn’t a bad album, but it definitely could be more concise.
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