Review: Chris James & Patrick Rynn – Barrelhouse Stomp

Posted on: Monday, Dec 2, 2013


Chris James & Patrick Rynn – Barrelhouse Stomp

(Earwig Music Company: EARWIG CD 4968)

In their pursuit to distil, preserve and perpetuate the essence of the music they love so dearly Chris and Patrick have, over the years stayed true to their faithful and original path, of composing numbers in the revered timeless Chicago manner and style of the late forties, fifties and early sixties; remaining as true and close as they can to that pure, emotion churning body contorting, foot stomping sweet sounding noise called the Blues.
The latest and hottest selection of numbers so far, was recorded during the periods between August two thousand and nine and July two thousand and eleven.

The twelve numbers here are a mixture of old and new with legendary talents such as; Aaron Moore, Henry Grey and David Maxwell on piano, Willie ‘Big Eyes ‘Smith, Willie Hayes and Eddie Kobeck on drums and not forgetting Eddie Shaw, Johnny Viau and Norbert W. Johnson on Tenor saxophones and of course Chris on Lead vocals and guitar with Patrick on bass, all coming together to create this very fine album.

The proceedings start with a jolly shuffling and swinging original concerning the fallout of a seriously failed relationship; the highly effective prowling and swinging harmonica playing from Rob Stone coupled with the grooving slap-happy drum work and trilling piano spurs this along nicely. The whole tone of the album is one of blindin’ night out in a ramshackle hostelry that reeks of that throat biting adrenalin filled atmosphere of sweat, nicotine and alcohol.

The dulcet tones of Eddie Shaw’s tenor saxophone is greatly displayed on two numbers firstly, the funky rolling “Just, Another Kick In The Teeth,” which is another sad tale of the woes of everyday life. While the jaunty piano and harmonica led, leg swinging “Vicksburg Blues,” has an underlining melancholy feel courtesy of the sad tenor saxophone. “Messin’ With White Lightnin’,” is a raw sawing mover in the style of Bo Diddley that features a chomping, chopping piano alongside a demonic guitar that soars as it slides.

“Bobby’s Rock,” “Take It Easy,”(a tribute to Pinetop Perkins) and “Last Call Woogie,” are a trio that almost define Chris and Patrick’s whole aim in life; for the first of these is a guitar and saxophone led rolling boogie that evolves into an emotive and measured searing slide burner the second is quite simply a deliciously sounding cascade of blurring fingers tinkling, dancing and pirouetting on the keyboard of the piano by David while willie pounds the life out of his drums and lastly the finale is a splendidly racous, rolling and tumbling rumba boogie that dances you out of the door. This is a very fine album created by some very fine musicians.

Highly recommended!


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