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Monday, Feb. 27, 2012

The Cash Box Kings

Holler and Stomp (Blind Pig)

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Although almost all of the blues musicians who recorded on Chess and Sun Records in the 1950s are gone, the classic sounds of the era live on in Chicago's The Cash Box Kings. Holler and Stomp includes original members Joe Nosek, Chris “CB” Boeger and Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, as well as renowned guest musicians Billy Flynn, Barrelhouse Chuck Goering, Jimmy Sutton and others.

The originals pay tribute to classic blues. “That's My Gal” sounds like Slim Harpo's “Scratch My Back,” “Tribute to the Black Lone Ranger” sounds like “Got My Mojo Working,” and “Barnyard Pimp” is reminiscent of Jimmy Rogers and Jimmy Reed. It's no wonder, as Nosek has spent a couple of decades learning from and playing with some of the greats, as has Kenny Smith, perhaps the world's best blues drummer since the passing of his dad, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith. In addition, Billy Flynn and Barrelhouse Chuck are a direct link to the musicians the band honors. Also, the group used vintage equipment to record at Sutton's Hi-Style studios.

The Cash Box Kings have gone back to the same influences that resulted in the early Chicago electric blues and brought that sound to the present without being processed by all of the filters of the decades between then and now. Their new compositions blend well with the 50- to 60-year-old covers, contributing to the vitality of the album.