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CD Review --- The Cash Box Kings

THE CASH BOX KINGS

Cuttin’ Heads: Live At The Cuda Café

Blue Midnight Records

Cash Box Kings CD

By Mike O’Cull

The word on the street is that The Cash Box Kings are the up and coming young guns of the Chicago blues scene, and with good reason. The Kings are an outfit dedicated to the spirit of post-war Chicago blues and the Delta blues of the 1920s and 1930s, not to the tired song list that many of the bands that also ply these styles tend to stick to. On the group’s recent live album Cuttin’ Heads: Live At The Cuda Café, the CBKs are explosive, entertaining, and clearly deep into their blues. The band  (Joe Nosek on harp and vocals, Travis Koopman on guitar and vocals, Chris “C.B.” Boeger on upright bass, Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith on drums and Oscar Wilson on vocals) throws down a hot show, on what the liner notes say was a very cold night, and puts those of us not fortunate enough to have been there right in the front row.

The songs on Cuttin’ Heads include both originals and covers and are straight-up, bare-knuckle Chicago blues done with the vibe and feel of the originators of the style. The music has the liveliness and energy that only roots music genius can provide, and it is easy to see just what the Kings’ growing reputation is based on. Highlights include “Honey Bee”, “Iodine In My Coffee” and the absolutely rollicking “She Wants To Sell My Monkey”. Each band member shines as part of the group sound and on their own when soloing;  the chemistry shared by this set of musicians is more than evident.

The Cash Box Kings have raised quite a ruckus with their music in the U.S. and overseas, and 2010 promises to be a big year for the group. One thing is for sure: if all their gigs are like the one recorded here, we all owe it to ourselves to make it out to a few of them. The weather outside may be frightful, but the Cash Box Kings will make sure that the music coming off the stage will be hot, cool, and most certainly blue.

 

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