Thursday, November 25, 2010
Album Review: Chris James & Patrick Rynn, 'Gonna Boogie Anyway'
Artist: Chris James, Patrick Rynn
Title: Gonna Boogie Anyway
When guitarist Chris James and bass player Patrick Rynn collaborated as the ‘C – Notes’ behind vocalist and harmonica player Rob Stone, it was my “pure blues” album of the year. With the release of their new album, ‘Gonna Boogie Anyway’ James and Rynn are back with a gritty honest electric Chicago blues sound. Out on the Chicago based Earwig Records this album includes a stellar line-up of accomplices including; David Maxwell (piano), Sam Lay (drums), and Henry Gray (piano). Blues harmonica player and noted radio host Bob Corritore guests on the tracks, ‘H.M. Stomp’ (instrumental) and the Bo Diddley cover, ‘Little Girl.’
An interesting aspect to this album is a study in how drums and drumming styles affect the sound of a band. As a guitar and bass (vocal) duo, James and Rynn often have to rely on guest drummers. In addition to Sam Lay, other drummers on the disc include; Willie Hayes and Eddie Kobeck. There are three ‘drumless’ tracks on the album; which adds to a listeners learning experience; ‘You Can’t Trust Nobody,’ ‘Headed Out West,’ and ‘Black Spider Blues.’ Admittedly, either the music “moves You” or it doesn’t; however, as we listen, we also learn.
This is a straight forward electric pure blues record; no flashy bells and whistles.
Purists will love this album for its honesty, historical root and direct approach. “Modern blues” listeners may initially find this album too traditional although repeated listening will push open the door to a greater appreciation that often, ‘simpler is better.’ As a radio host, I found, ‘Dearest Darling,’ a second Bo Diddley cover to be my focus track. All listeners should focus in on the pure sounding instruments as they juxtapose to James’ vocals. In addition to the great albums from days gone by, this is a very good foundation album of modern purist blues that fans can build a library upon.