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Rich Hopkins And Luminarios | Ka-Ju-Tah (Blue Rose)
Red, White & Blue starts off 'Ka-Ju-Tah', and is a rollicking blue collar piece of classic rock that pushes the right buttons. With a naggingly insistent lead guitar/chorus, you know you're in Springsteen/Earle territory with Hopkins railing against the so-called ultra-patriotism of Bush's America. While there is always going to be plenty of this kind of stuff doing the rounds, Hopkins has mastered the art of the angry American armed with a Fender and firing off shards of vitriol against all that is wrong with his country. Generally it's steadily predictable, but in a way that makes you want to continue listening.
Hopkins, a former member of the Sand Rubies and the Sidewinders, started the Luminarios as a side project. Now it's taken over his life, with 'Ka-Ju-Tah' being the third Luminarios album since 1994. So Rich has had plenty of time to get it right and, indeed, this album does contain plenty of good stuff - a heady amalgamation of rock and blues and country. Hopkins used guitar, keys, drums, bass etc - and the sound of a rooster on La Reina de la Calle. Oh, and why 'Ka-Ju-Tah'? It's all to do with native Americans, dreams, visions and such. A very American thing, obviously.

John Stacey
March-April 2004