At first glance, it might seem a little odd that Black Stone Cherry have chosen a sextet of blues standards for their next outing. Fear not though, because what the Kentucky rockers have done with the classics from Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters and Freddie and Albert King is nothing short of astonishing.
Chris Robertson’s gritty vocal style is a glove-like fit for Wolf’s Built For Comfort. A stormer of an opener that drips lust and promiscuity, the ripping guitar Robertson also provides acts like a chainsaw scything through from beneath.
The rich tang of old-school blues exemplifies what Muddy Waters is all about, true, but what Champagne & Reefer exudes here is confidence and the great time the band as a collective are having laying these tracks down. This is one wild animal of a track that sweats braggadocio by the bucket load.
What really stands out about this collection though is the manner in which each song is taken on its merits then tackled in such a uniquely Black Stone Cherry way. Freddie King’s Palace of the King and Water’s Hoochie Coochie Man are diametrically opposed stylistically but on the cut each is laced with just so much fun it is damn near not to smile at the sheer audacity of the band’s playing.
Born Under A Bad Sign is more what BSC are all about. Ripped with energy and uncontrollable zip, Robertson, John Fred Young, Ben Wells and Jon Lawhon really get down to the business of making great music greater, before slowing things down just a tad with funky yet magnificently mellow version of Water’s I Want To Be Loved which oozes class from every fret, syllable and chord.
Not best known for their blues playing, Black Stone Cherry have nevertheless delivered with Black to Blues a thunderous tribute to those players who have served to inspire them, whilst also rewriting the rule book as to how these tunes should be played.
Superb stuff indeed!
Black Stone Cherry
Black to Blues EP
Number of Discs: 1
Label: MASCOT RECORDS
29 September, 2017
Built For Comfort
Champagne & Reefer
Palace of the King
Hoochie, Coochie Man
Born Under a Bad Sign
I Want To Be Loved