Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Two-fer Reviews: Chris James & Patrick Rynn "Gonna Boogie Anyhow" AND Rob Stone "Back Around Here"

Today we share the good news about two fine cds from a 3 man writing team that lays down the Chicago Blues in all its glory. Chris James & Patrick Rynn play guitar & bass respectively for the Rhythm Room All Stars in Phoenix. Rob Stone is a bandleader in Chicago. These three guys first got started together co-founding a band called the C-Notes in 1990. They continue to write together, and now James/Rynn and Stone have each released new cds on Earwig Records at about the same time. Both good cds, too, each built from many of the same elements. Both cds feature the James/Rynn/Stone writing team. Both cds have the James/Rynn duo on guitar and bass, and both cds feature Rob Stone and sometimes Bob Corritore on harmonica, David Maxwell and sometimes Henry Gray on piano, and the great Sam Lay and sometimes Edie Kobek on drums. On the James/Rynn disc Chris James handles the vocal chores. On his disc, Rob Stone sings and plays harmonica.

I really like these guys. They make good mostly up-tempo blues music with no pretense. I hope these partnerships continue to grow and develop. If these three guys could spend enough time together they could be the Chicago version of the Mannish Boys on the west coast--an all star ensemble with chops and taste and flair to spare. Highlights abound. On Rob Stone's disc, "I Need To Plant A Money Tree" has a real infectious groove, and "Lot To Love About You" is a wonderful harp workout with Aaron Moore on piano helping things move. On the James/Rynn disc the best songs are "Money Don't Like Me" (Parts 1 & 2) where the whole band swings and roars and everybody hits the mark. Another highlight is "Headed Out West," featuring only James & Rynn, on electric guitar and upright bass, showing another side of their massive talents.

Two winning discs--snap 'em up at Earwig Records. You'll be glad when these discs land in your mailbox.

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