Cash Box Kings review…March 23, 2013…

CASH BOX KINGS

BLACK TOPPIN

BLIND PG RECORDS   BPCD 5150

BLUES FALLING DOWN ON ME–BLACK TOPPIN–TRYING REALLY HARD (TO TRY AND GET ALONG WITH YOU)–OSCAR’S JUMP–MONEY, MARBLES, AND CHALK–MY TINAI–WALKING BLUES–I DON’T WANNA FIGHT–TOM CAT BLUES–HOT BISCUIT BABY–GIMME SOME OF THAT–RUN RUN RUN

 

On their 2011 debut, “Holler And Stomp,’ The Cash Box Kings introduced themselves as one of the premier purveyors of that classic Chicago blues sound brought to the world by the likes of Muddy, Walter, and Buddy, and made household names of record labels such as Chess and Vee-Jay.  On their latest release, entitled “Black Toppin,” the fellows treat us to eight solid originals and five very well-chosen, and perhaps a bit unusual covers.

 

The core of the band remains Joe Nosek on harp and vocals, Oscar Wilson on vocals, Beau Sample on bass, Joel Paterson on guitar, and Kenny Smith on the drums.  There are a few very special surprise guests that round out the program, making this one a cool ride, for sure!

 

The hilarious title cut revisits the Junior Parker days at Sun Records as Oscar tells the tale of “forbidden love across the tracks.”  The young’uns might say it’s a “booty call,” and us old-schoolers called it “midnight creepin,” but it’s really just plan ole “Black Toppin!”  Oscar’s vocal on “Oscar’s Jump” jives and wails all over thee place, and he does an incredible job on a tribute to Chess Records, “Too Late” and Jimmy Rogers’ “Money, Marbles, And Chalk,” which features fine lead work from Billy Flynn and Barrelhouse Chuck’s authentic piano.  The set closes with a raucous cover of Lou Reed’s Velvet Underground gem, “Run Run Run,’ with a cool echo-effect vocal from Joe.

 

Three cuts stood out for us, too.  “Trying Really Hard” is a sweet slab of Fifties-inspired rock that combines the use of Joe’s harp alongside Jerry Devivo’s sax within the arrangement.  Joel Paterson’s howlin’ slide evokes the ghost of Robert Johnson over Oscar’s vocal in “Walking Blues,” while Beau has a goodtime vibe goin’ on with the slapback bass on the tongue-in-cheek, slide-driven story of a girlfriend who just won’t “Gimme Some Of That.”

 

The Cash Box Kings easily wear the crown of “carryin’ this bidness on” as far as real-deal Chicago blues is concerned.  And, “Black Toppin” is sho ’nuff one that is keepin’ the faith!  Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow.

 

 

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