Black To Blues Vol. 1 & 2
These are two EP’s from Black Stone Cherry; the covers are basically the same. Volume#1 was released in 2017, one year after The Rolling Stones released their 2016 cover album “Blue and Lonesome”. I noticed that the six songs on the first EP were also covers and that three of them were written by Willie Dixon. Although I was thrilled that a hard rock band would cover them I decided to pass on a review at that time. Yeah, I’m an old guy that likes traditional blues.
I recently received the newly released “Black To Blues” Vol.#2 with six more covers so I decided to review them together. I figured I’d start with Willie Dixon and make a comparison to “Cream”, when they first recorded “Spoonful” in 1966, and the excitement that was generated. The song had been previously recorded by Howlin’ Wolf in 1960; some sixty years ago. Then I discovered more about Black Stone Cherry; that they were formed in 2001 in Edmonton, Kentucky and that one of the founders is John Fred Young, the son of The Kentucky Headhunter’s Richard Young. I was surprised to learn that their debut album was released in 2006 and that they have six full length recordings the last being 2018’s “Family Tree”.
Black Stone Cherry is co-founder Chris Robinson, guitar and vocals; Young, drums, harmonica and vocals; Ben Wells, rhythm guitar and vocals; and Jonathan Lawhon, bass and vocals. The three Willie Dixon songs on Vol.#1 were “Built For Comfort” recorded by Dixon in 1964; “Hoochie Coochie Man” recorded by Muddy Waters in 1957; and “I Want To Be Loved” recorded by Waters in 1954. Rounding out the first session was Waters’ “Champagne And Reefer” written and recorded by him on his last album in 1981; Don Nix’s “Palace of The King” co-written with Leon Russell and Donald “Duck” Dunn and recorded by Freddie King in 1975; and “Born Under A Bad Sign” written by Booker T. Jones and William Bell and recorded by Albert King in 1967.
This hard rock band has also been called a heavy metal band and Volume #2 is equally interesting; as Black Stone Cherry rocks harder than most blues-rock bands. “Big Legged Woman” written by Israel Tolbert was recorded by Jimmy Reed in 1970. “Me & The Devil Blues” was written and recorded by Robert Johnson in 1938. Otis Rush’s “All Your Love (I Miss Loving)” was first recorded in 1958. Willie Dixon’s “Down in The Bottom” was recorded by Howlin’ Wolf in 1961. “Early One Morning” written by Elmore James and Marshall Sehorn was recorded by James in 1966. Son House’s classic “Death Letter Blues”, long considered his signature song, was recorded in 1985. It’s exciting to hear these new interpretations.
The blues on these two EP’s are Black Stone Cherry’s heavy rockin’ covers. If you like your blues loud enough to shake the walls these were made for you.