Review: Black Stone Cherry – Back to the Blues 2
Mascot Records (November 1st 2019)
Reviewer: Peter Scallan
This is the second of Black Stone Cherry’s ‘Back to Blues‘ EPs. The first one was released in 2017 and received such a great reaction the guys thought they would do it again! Sandwiched in between these has been the full studio album ‘Family Tree‘, which is also much more bluesy than previous BSC offerings. Quite what the purpose of this second blues outing is, I am unsure. However, I am sure glad they did!
With only six tracks on it, the proceedings open with ‘Big Legged Woman‘, which is a Freddie King song. It swaggers along and the addition of the keyboard player pays dividend, with some great blues piano.
Next up is ‘Me and the Devil Blues‘ which also has some great electric piano in it. An original from Robert Johnson, the song has some great twin guitar parts reminiscent of the Allman Brothers. It is breaks down in the middle with the piano being more prominent providing some great light and shade in this version.
‘All Your Love (I Miss Loving)‘ is I believe a blues standard brought to prominence by Otis Rush and grooves along nicely on a great drum beat with some nice blues licks throughout before breaking into a twelve-bar section. The pace is picked up a little with ‘Down In The Bottom‘ which drives along on a ferocious drum rhythm and is great version of a Howlin’ Wolf song.
We then get treated to the out and out twelve-bar blues intro of ‘Early One Morning‘ before it drops down into a laid back funky rhythm that Elmore James would be proud of. The closing song opens with piano and military-style snare drums that make it sound like a Free song before the guitars kick in. The song in question is Son House’s ‘Death Letter Blues‘ and the guys absolutely rock this number.
Now I know it is an album full of standard covers, and some might say it’s for the collectors only. But I have got to say I have absolutely loved both the Back To Blues EP, and even gladder it is filtering into their original material as evidenced by Family Tree. For once it is nice to see a band grow and just get better and bigger which doesn’t really happen much these days. Perhaps there should also be a little kudos for their label and other labels should have a look at what can be achieved if you truly nurture an artist. Well done to both and long may it continue!