Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Cash Box Kings - Holding Court


2015 – Blind Pig Records
By Phillip Smith; May 16, 2015

Chicago blues masters The Cash Box Kings return again to serve up a nice and healthy dose of classic-sounding blues on their new album, Holding Court.  Stomping through the decades, they seem very at home playing in the musical styles prevalent during the Thirties through the Fifties.  Joe Nosek, and Oscar Wilson continue to front the band, and it absolutely pleases me to see Barrelhouse Chuck back on piano/organ, as well drummer Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith sitting in on three tracks.  

Nosek holds down the harmonica, and Joel Paterson delivers great twangy licks on lead guitar while kicking things off with the Willie Dixon cover, “I Ain’t Gonna Be No Monkey Man”.  They also nail down a sweet cover of John Lee Hooker’s “Hobo Blues”.  Paterson plays it nice and slow.   

The Cash Box Kings certainly have a knack for bringing current issues to light in their lyrics.  “Download Blues”, written by Nosek, documents the monetary hardships musicians face these days because of illegal downloading on the back of a common devil-may-care attitude about sharing copyrighted material. Whereas “Gotta Move Out to the Suburbs” is a commentary about folks living in the inner city, being pushed out of their homes, to make way for expensive high-rises and skateboard parks. Both are favorites.  

It’s so nice to hear the Blues presented in the unadulterated manner The Cash Box Kings meticulously perform it.  Holding Court is true gem.