The American hard rock band BLACK STONE CHERRY originated at the beginning of the century in Edmonton, Kentucky when Chris Robertson (lead vocals & guitars) and John Fred Young (drums & backing vox) started gigging together as teen-chums and were soon joined on their musical adventures by Ben Wells (guitars and backing vox) and Jon Lawhon (bass and backing vox.)
In a career that has spanned six studio albums, two live albums and four extended plays (including the much lauded covers disc “Black to Blues” (2017) and support slots with Def Leppard, Whitesnake, Nickelback, Chickenfoot, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bad Company and many many more, this hard-working act are back with “Black To Blues Volume 2”.
“Black To Blues Volume 2” will feature Freddie King’s ‘Big Legged Woman’, Howlin’ Wolf’s ‘Down In The Bottom’, Robert Johnsons’ ‘Me & The Devil Blues’, Otis Rush’s ‘All Your Love (I Miss Loving)’, the Elmore James classic ‘Early One Morning’ and ‘Death Letter Blues’ by Son House.
Chris Robertson says: “We could have never dreamed of the reaction we got from “Black to Blues…”
“It was amazing to have such a positive reaction to our take on some of our biggest influences in music. Now we are back for round two and we have added our great friend Yates Mckendree on organ/keys and he also makes an appearance on guitar…”
“We kept a couple artists in the line-up from last time and introduced a few others into the mix as well. We can’t wait for everyone to hear and feel how much fun we had recording this project...”
The EP begins with with Robertson introducing the wizard electric blues pianist Yates McKendree, the son of the multi-instrumentalist Kevin, on the organ as they launch into Freddie King’s ‘Big Legged Woman.’
Freddie King was widely considered to be the most noteworthy guitarist during the blues-based hard rock transition, performing alongside the likes of Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton and Grand Funk Railroad whilst still holding-down lucrative session jobs on the Memphis soul circuit and for the Chess and Stax houses. On the Black Stone Cherry version we have bright guitar, smooth organ and still that bumptious bass-led badassary that we so-much enjoyed on the original. “I love you better than a hog loves slop…” God, yeah! That’s how romantic poetry should work. That baby-talk is guaranteed to woo a woman’s heart.
The Cherries’ version of Robert Johnson’s “Me and the Devil Blues” (originally recorded in 1937 in what was to be his final recording session) has a groovy air and a soulful slur going on; It’s kinda as if Warren Hayes had spent a lot of time hanging with (brother?) Isaac Hayes and the soul-man’s spangled funk keyboarding somehow got coalesced with guitar-based dirty Southern blues. Anyhow, what stands out on this throbbing track is the gravel & rye vocal delivered by Robertson. And of course you get the sparkling guitar-work from Chris and dreamy rhythms from Wells (who seems to have morphed into Deryck Whibley over time, by the way). As fans of BSC will proudly tell you: this is as magnetic as it is understated.
Here’s some choice-cut ‘n’ subtly expressed, truly sacred blues, delivered with bangs of freshly funky joie de vivre and lots-and-lots of blessings from Kentucky’s premier Southern Rock sovereigns… it doesn’t get much better than this!
Black To Blues Volume 2 by Black Stone Cherry is due 18 Oct 2019 via MASCOT RECORDS
Words: @neilmach 2019 ©