Hail To The Kings!
The Cash Box Kings were founded in 2001 by Joe Nosek. Oscar “43rd Street” Wilson joined in 2007. Born in Chicago in 1953 Wilson grew up in the company of blues royalty such as Junior Wells, Elmore James and David “Honeyboy” Edwards. Chicago’s 43rd Street has since been renamed Muddy Waters Drive.
The Cash Box Kings have five Blues Music Award nominations overall. The King’s eighth album, 2015’s “Holding Court”, garnered them three including “Band of The Year”. After signing with Alligator Records their 2017 label debut “Royal Mint” resulted in another BMA nomination for “Band of The Year”.
Nosek and Wilson are over twenty years apart in age. Wilson states “The Cash Box Kings are a throwback to the golden age of blues with some kickin’ fresh young blood. Joe is my best friend in the music world, the band is a marriage made in heaven for the both of us.” Nosek adds “Oscar is godfather to my oldest son; we have each other’s backs. We’re family.
The “young blood” joining vocalist Wilson includes Nosek, harmonica and vocals; Billy Flynn, lead guitar; John W. Lauler, upright and electric bass; and Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, drums. They are joined by the “Cash Box Queen” Lee Kanehira on piano and organ.
Recorded in Chicago the band continues to refine their mix of original Chicago Blues and Memphis rockabilly. As songwriters Nosek and Wilson continue to improve and include eleven new songs, eight of them co-written. Their storytelling and good humor stand out on the performance piece “Joe, You Ain’t From Chicago”. The Kings sing of love gone wrong on “Ain’t No Fun (When The Rabbit Got The Gun)”; and on “The Wrong Number” with the hilarious lyric “there was this chick who was really fine that I had on the side…it was the wrong number that I texted last night”. They also tell us the story of a bad cop on “Jon Burge Blues”.
“The Wine Talkin” written with John Hahn features Wilson in a vocal duet with Shemekia Copeland. The ensemble finds that “old school” spirit and channels both Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. Wilson’s vocal inspiration also includes Jimmy Reed and the band covers “I’m the Man down There” first recorded by Reed in 1965.
Flynn’s masterful guitar playing combines well with Nosek’s harmonica and Kanehira’s keyboards, as the rhythm section attacks each song with authority. Living Blues Magazine declared the Kings “one of the best blues bands in the land” and the proof is in the pudding. Look for The Cash Box Kings to receive yet another “Band” nomination in 2020.