It's an odd thing: as the blues craze is dying down, finding dives and venues slowly fading—I know L.A. and the SoCal beach cities aren't nearly as receptive as once they were, though the mode's certainly not dead—the labels are coming to the rescue and getting damned serious. Thus, Blue Bella is making an exceedingly muscular bid to get in the front ranks—and succeeding. This CD is one of four they're now issuing, every one a gem of bluesmithing with emphatic Chicago blood and gristle, though the Nick Moss disc (here) is a heavy nod to the modern via 70s rockin' giants.
The Cash Box Kings cleave to elder styles, though, and do so in a jukebox swingin' way that takes barrelhouse, proto-rock, soul, and a bit of northbound N'awleans into its base, coming up with a blend seamlessly melding their own originals in with classix by Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, Blind Willie McTell, and even Jim Croce. Wolfman Jack used to favor this kind of music, and one can catch still catch it in Duke Robillard, Little Feat, The Mighty Thunderbirds, and others. The Cash Box boys would have no trouble filling a bill with those ensembles.
Vying with Moss for coolest song title of the year (Nick came up with "Bolognius Funk") is the Kings' Quesadilla Boogie, also an instrumental, but where Moss jams like crazy in his gig, these guys get down to shuffling swing, a ripe chance for Joel Paterson and Billy Flynn to trade off guitar and mando licks. Warm it Up to Me closes with an acoustic fling boasting harmony vocals and Joe Nosek's omnipresent harmonica jumpin ' and larkin', buzzing everywhere, keeping the vibe hip to the last moment.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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