Back Around Here CD Review
Nashville Blues Society

A well-meaning fan asked Rob Stone at the 2009 Blues Awards when he was going to release a follow-up to his 2003 CD, "Just My Luck." (A very good CD, by the way!) Rob explained that he had been staying busy as a bandleader at the Chicago House Of Blues, and that two members of the "C Notes" band from that '03 CD, Chris James and Patrick Rynn, had branched out and found success on their own. But, it did start the wheels turning, and the fellows all got together and created "Back Around Here" for Earwig Records. It is a red-hot set of eight originals and four covers done up in that classic "Chicago" combo sound that came about in the Fifties when bands like those of Muddy Waters and Dave and Louis Myers were in their prime.

That's harp-player extraordinaire Rob Stone's commitment, too. He and the band strive to keep that classic sound intact, without sounding copied or cliched'. They do a great job, too. You'll hardly find a slow tune on this set, as Rob sees the blues as a vehicle for dancing and keeping the floor filled is another thing he strives for.

Joining Rob on harp, Patrick on bass, and Chris on guitar are some of the cream of Chicago bluesmen, too. Aaron Moore and David Maxwell share piano duties, while Willie Hayes, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith and Sam Lay all share the drummer's seat. These guys mesh like a well-oiled blues machine, and they let it all hang out. Rob's wailing harp sets the tone in the leadoff "Youre No Good For Me."   Magic Sam's "Give Me Time" has just the right amount of soul from Rob to make this one sizzle, while a punchy horn section mimics the doo-wop chorus of an excellent cover of the 5 Royales' "It's Hard But It's Fair." A smokin' instrumental, "Dragon Killers," gives everyone a chance to step out while the ol' Shuffle Master himself, Sam Lay, holds down the beat.

We had three favorites, too. Rob's spending habits lead him to the notion that "I Need To Plant A Money Tree" for financial aid! His "Sloppy Drunk Blues" owes more to Leroy Carr's original than other familiar versions. And, his acoustic harp on Sonny Boy Williamson's "I Love You For Myself" gives one a good idea of how Rob has developed his style over the years.

Rob Stone is one of those young bluesmen who will always have deep roots in that classic combo sound, and it's sho' nuff good to see him "Back Around Here!" Until next time...Sheryl and Don Crow.