Chris James and Patrick Rynn review…August 24, 2015…

CHRIS JAMES AND PATRICK RYNN

TROUBLE DON’T LAST

VIZZTONE  VTCP 001

SHAMELESS–LILLY MAE–LONESOME WHISTLE BLUES–GOING DOWN TO THE OCEAN–TROUBLE DON’T LAST–DON’T DRIVE ME AWAY–STEADY GOIN’ ON–A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME–HARD TO KEEP A DOLLAR–ROLL TUMBLE AND SLIP

We’ve been fans of Chris James and Patrick Rynn for nearly twenty years, when they were backing Sam Lay.  They’ve always been purveyors of that classic combo sound that was prevalent in the years immediately following WWII when amplified blues became standard.  Such is the case with their latest album for Vizztone, “Trouble Don’t Last.”

They are paired with some fantastic backing musicians, too.  Along with Chris on guitar and vocals and Patrick on bass, we have June Core on drums, and both Rob Stone and Aki Kumar on harp.  “Lilly Mae” has a good country-blues feel, and was originally done by Detroiter Calvin Frazier, hence the lyrical nod to Hastings Street.  June keeps the beat stompin’ throughout, too.  The title cut is a band original that recalls vintage Muddy, as that loping beat rides over the ominous lyrics, “I gave her a home but she mortgaged my soul.”  The set closes on a similar note with a tune from Sunnyland Slim, “Roll Tumble And Slip,” featuring both Rob and Aki on dual harp!

The fellows do write some fine topical contemporary blues.  The story of a man who’s down on his luck thanks to poor choices at the track and a DUI from the high sheriff realizes he made some mistakes, but it all “Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time!”  And, everybody’s “paycheck is gettin’ smaller” and it is sho’ nuff “Hard To Keep A Dollar” nowadays!

We had two favorites, too—one original and one cool cover.  The set begins with Chris’ fine lead work on a brooding ode about people we all know, who are “Shameless,” and whose “best friend is a dollar!”  And, Chris pays tribute to Freddie King with the jazzy swing of “Lonesome Whistle Blues,” with a great vocal arrangement.

With each successive album, Chris James and Patrick Rynn just keep gettin’ better.  They had a great backing band on “Trouble Don’t Last,” and this set shows why they are among the best players of real-deal, down-home blues on the scene today!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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