Thirty-year-old Hubby Jenkins earned his stripes and learned his chops busking New York City streets, and man can you hear those rattle-tat sidewalk serenades in the soul in his voice and playing. That reach-out-and-touch-you folk and R&B is in his blood now, and it's no stretch to call him a young master of the forms. He also happens to be a walking encyclopedia on African-American history and old-time music, and that too informs the beauty and joy in his playing and songs. Hubby's a madman on instruments like banjos and guitars (and bones!)—he can pick and rip and thump. His rich, powerful voice glides effortlessly between gentle traditionals of heartbreak to day-to-day proletariat hardships. In 2010, Hubby joined Grammy-winning string band Carolina Chocolate Drops, because they know a Real Deal when they see it. Here Hubby gives us his Top Five albums ever (this week). Go see him on Friday at Monterey Court, 505 W. Miracle Mile. Thirteen-year-old Delta blues guitar sensation Roman Barten-Sherman opens. For more info, go to montereycourtaz.com. —Brian Smith
1. Various Artists–Altamont: Black Stringband Music from the Library of Congress: Though the banjo is an African American instrument pre-war recordings of old time are mostly white. That's why Altamont was so stirring to me the first time I heard it. Musicians brought together by John Work III of Fisk University, these recordings are a great window into black banjo style.
3. Richard Pryor–That Nigger's Crazy: Like Curtis Mayfield: Pryor figured out a way to make biting social commentary funny for everyone. His bit about police brutality is just as relevant today as it was when it was recorded. Not for kids!