Those wanting some house party, rocking real deal blues need go no further than The Cash Box Kings' new disc, the first for Alligator. With the strong singing from Oscar Wilson and harmonica and occasional vocals from Joe Nosek, guitar from Billy Flynn and/or Joel Patterson, drums from Kenny 'Beedy Eyes' Smith or Mark Haynes, keyboards from Lee Kanehira, this is one straight shot of Chicago blues mixed with a dose of jump blues and a touch of rockabilly.
The rollicking reworking of Amos Milburn's hit, "House Party," certainly kicks this off on the right start and one takes notice of Wilson's strong singing along with Nosek's full toned harmonica. It is followed by a solid rendition of Jimmy Reed's "I'm Gonna Get My Baby," with strong singing and harp and a terrific shuffle groove. It is on cover of a lesser known Muddy Waters number, "Flood," that Wilson's vocals evokes the legendary Chicago giant while Flynn's slide guitar suggests Waters' guitar style and Kanehira is equally solid. An acoustic rendition of Robert Johnson's "Traveling Riverside Blues," set to the "Rollin' and Tumblin'" music and the cover of "Sugar Sweet" additionally showcase how strongly Wilson and company evoke Waters' classic sound. On Junior Wells' "I'm a Stranger," Kanehira lays down greasy organ under the vocal while Flynn's slide is in Robert Nighthawk vein
As a singer Nosek is less impressive, although a honest, unforced and straight-forward vocalist. His topical original, "Build That Wall," which is set to a Tex-Mex rockabilly backing, is a delightful with a Chuck Berry flavored guitar break. "Blues For ChiRag," is a strong urban, topical blues about violence in Chicago today, and the humorous shuffle "If You Got A Jealous Woman Facebook Ain't Your Friend," with some terrific guitar from both Flynn and Patterson besides Wilson's full-bodied singing. Another party song is the rendition of Clifton Chenier's rocker "All Night Long," with solid horns, a terrific piano break and solid horns along with a terrific Flynn solo. Nosek's easy going singing and harp delights on the raggy, closing number, "Don't Let Life Tether You Down."
"Royal Mint" is chock full of some exceptional performances, and the level of the music is never less than very entertaining. Listening to this, it is easy to see why they have a strong fan base, one that is certain to expand.
I received a review copy from Alligator. Here The Cash Box Kings perform Muddy Waters' "Blow, Wind, Blow."