Music You Don't Know You Like Yet
2015-01-11Those who lament the marriage of rock and the blues need look no further than this new release from singer/harmonica man Rob Stone which features nothing but the blues. And not just any blues: this is a disc of rock solid Chicago blues. Joining Stone are band mates Chris James on guitar, Patrick Ryan on bass and Willie "The Touch" Hayes on drums along with a host of special guests including such luminaries as saxophonist Eddie Shaw, guitarist John Primer and pianists David Maxwell and Henry Gray. While the menu is Chicago blues with plenty of hot harmonica and guitar licks that doesn't mean that this is just a collection of electrified boogies and shuffles featuring those instruments. Tracks such as "Wonderful Time" almost leave Chicago with upbeat Kansas City style piano grooves and "Anything Can Happen" features Shaw's wailing saxophone and Maxwell's fleet fingered piano rather than harmonica in the lead role. While most of Stone's vocals fit the material and sometimes recall Big Joe Turner (especially on "Move Baby Move" and "Not No Mo'") they can sometimes be a bit unconvincing as on "She Belongs to Me" where his laid back delivery insures no one would be afraid of his promise to "cut you like 1,2,3." The same can't be said of his harmonica playing which is top-notch throughout. The low-key instrumental "Stollin' With Sasquatch" gives Stone a chance to demonstrate his impeccable tone and phrasing. Stone and crew are also pretty good with the pen as demonstrated by the six original tracks including the road dog anthem "Blues Keep Rollin'" On and "Wired and Tired" which finds Stone willing to by-pass most everything including, umm, Jelly, for some much needed sleep. With the strong performances included here, sleep won't be on the agenda for blues fans who give this disc a spin. SMITTY
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