Back Around Here CD Review
Blues & Rhythm Magazine - England, UK
by Waverley McTavish
Once of the hardest working harp players on the Chicago blues scene, it’s been seven years since Rob Stone’s last release, which makes the emergence of this new CD cause for a spot of serious glass raising in various hostelries around the blues world. Stone has his long times buddies guitarist Chris James and bass player Patrick Rynn (see review of their new CD in this issue of B&R) aboard and the guest list includes Dave Maxwell, Aaron Moore, Willie Hayes, Sam Lay, and Willie Smith.
Opener ‘You’re No Good For Me’, a storming shuffle, draws its inspiration from the likes of Jimmy Rogers and Big Walter. John Lee Williamson’s ‘Love You For Myself’ harkens back to an older tradition with Stone playing acoustic harp. Next up, it’s Magic Sam’s ‘Give Me Time’ with Sam Lay providing a solid groove on the voodoo boilers. The original (comp. Stone, James, Rynn) ‘I Need To Plant A Money Tree’ draws its inspiration from Jimmy Reed with Chris James doing the Eddie Taylor licks. With bari and tenor saxes added, ‘Chicago All Night’ paints a musical portrait of a city that never closes, while ‘Lot To Love About You’ is a jumping swing blues that harkens back to the immediate post-war period.
Sans guitar, Dave Maxwell plays the Leroy Carr part on ‘Sloppy Drunk Blues’, with Stone once more in acoustic John Lee Williamson harp mode. ‘Dragon Killers’ is an edgy, Little Walter tinged, harmonica instrumental, maybe a tad long at 4:10 though. With the great Sam Lay once more in the engine room, the final cut, ‘No Strings Attached’, once more looks backwards to the early 1950s, think of the rolling piano of Otis Spann, Jimmy Rogers on guitar, Walter Horton on harp and you’ll get the picture!
Recommended to fans of tough blues harp. However, seven years is way too long a wait. Rob, let’s get things in perspective--your fans don’t want to wait another seven for the next CD!