Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Rob Stone Gotta Keep Rollin’

It has been several years since Rob Stone had a splendid album of post-war Chicago-styled harmonica blues and VizzTone has just issued “Gotta Keep Rollin’.” Certainly with the presence of Chris James and Patrick Rynn with whom Stone played together and with Sam Lay, one can expect strong playing and support. Others here include Willie Hayes on drums and Dave Maxwell on piano with appearances by Eddie Shaw, John Primer and Henry Gray.

Certainly the mood is established with the opening shuffle “Wait Baby” followed by the rendition of “Wonderful Time” with Stone’s harp channeling the first Sonny Boy Williamson as opposed to Little Walter with Maxwell playing bouncy piano as James takes a sprite solo. It is as much a joy to listen to Primer’s’ guitar as Rynn and Hayes rocking a crisp shuffle groove supporting Stone’s straight-forward singing on “Lucky 13.”

Shaw adds his immediately recognizable tenor sax to “Anything Can Happen,” with a clever lyric and rollicking backing. “She Belongs to Me” is a nice rendition of a Jazz Gillum number (not the Magic Sam song) with a menacing lyric as Stone threatens to cut this gent if he fools around with Stone’s woman. Billy ‘the Kid’ Emerson’s “Move Baby Move” is a rocker with an original lyric set to a groove of Big Joe Turner’s “Shake Rattle and Roll,” while “Strollin' With Sasquatch” is a nice relaxed instrumental on which Stone showcases his fat, controlled tone.

Henry Grey is present on “Wired and Tired,” a rocking performance that suggest the late sixties Muddy Waters band recordings with Mojo Buford and followed by a nice reworking of Blind Willie McTell’s “Cold Winter Day” with choice John Primer guitar. James’ employment of a slight echoey tremolo to his playing adds to the spirit of the rendition of Lonesome Sundown’s “It's Easy When You Know How.”

I said about Stone’s last album “Back Around Here” (Earwig), “Stone treats the idiom as not simply history, but as a living tradition to be celebrated.” Stone’s strong performances and the wonderful band on “Gotta Keep Rollin’” provide us with another terrific Chicago blues recording.

I received my review copy from VizzTone. My review of his earlier album appeared in 2010. This review priginally appeared in the January-February 2015 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 358). Here is a clip of Rob performing.

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