Rob Stone & The C-Notes
Just My Luck
Earwig (2003) 4950
13 tracks, 53 minutes.
by Craig Ruskey
Review date: October 2003
"Keeping the Blues Alive Award"|
Achievement for Blues on the Internet
Presented by The Blues Foundation
While it's been a good length of time since Rob Stone & the C-Notes hit the streets running with 1998's No Worries, the Chicago by-way-of New England resident is back with better distribution, a bigger label, a more mature and developed harp style, and he serves notice that there will be a continuing line of players who are comfortable taking a decidedly vintage 1950's approach. The baker's dozen on Just My Luck are a gritty mix of storming harp shuffles in the Little Walter mould, rippling guitar workouts, and swinging, horn-fed jumpers. While Stone's first CD was a fine affair, it showed a bit of apprehension with his nervous vocal delivery and originals that weren't "quite there" yet, but he's returned and we're all the better for it. There are a couple of thundering harp workouts; the instrumental Cut The Heat On which smolders at a driving pace, plus a slow and moody Empty Room with fine lyrics from Stone's pen, two tips of the hat to Elmore James from his namesake, guitarist Chris James, in the form of Pickin' The Blues and Stranger Blues (with the young slinger taking the vocals to good effect), and a fine effort in Jackie Brenston's Rocket 88. The late Dave Myers is honored for his incredibly efficient guitar playing on three tracks (sadly, this was Myers' final session) and Sam Lay handles drumming chores for a little better than half of the cuts while Patrick Rynn nails down upright and electric bass chores. A number of other guests drop in, including Donny Nichilo on piano, Minou Maruyama on guitar, and Jonathan Doyle on sax, but the final tally proves that Rob Stone will be a force to be reckoned with. His workmanlike voice is improving and his harp playing has become far more effective and focused, while his songwriting is another fine asset, and his choice of a supporting cast proves that he's highly capable as a bandleader. The sleepers on the disc are My Side Of The Story with potent guitar from James, and the gutter-driven Your Move with its incredible restlessness and band communication, usually evident only in much older players. This is a young band that has all the earmarks of maintaining what is so important to Chicago Blues; feet firmly planted in traditional territory and original songwriting that keeps things fresh and rewarding. Outstanding.
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