Review: John Cee Stannard & Blue Horizon – Bus Depot Blues

Posted on: Saturday, Nov 8, 2014


John Cee Stannard & Blue Horizon – Bus Depot Blues

(Cast Iron: CIRCD 024)

Singer and guitarist John Cee Stannard was a member of the folky outfit Tudor Lodge, who recorded a number of John’s songs back in 1971 on the Vertigo label but he then put his song-writing skills largely on the back seat; just over forty years later, John got together with some session musicians and some new blues songs he had written, and recorded a solo album.

Touring soon followed and John has now made this very appealing follow-up. The sound is generally acoustic based, though there is a band on some numbers and Mike Baker plays second guitar throughout. Forget trying to sound American – John has a quintessentially English accent, as for example, on the ragtime inflected ‘I’ll Take Care Of Mine’. There are elements of skiffle to be heard here (try the title track for a good example) and a more generic “East Coast” fingerpicking based style, including hints of jazz in a couple of places, with the resulting recordings conveying – mostly – a sense of fun.

The only non–original is a chugging cover of Big Boy Crudup’s ‘That’s Alright” that owes a lot to Elvis, though Howard Birchmore’s harmonica playing keeps it grounded in the blues. ‘Flood Water’ relies on a heavy, electric slide guitar riff to create a menacing atmosphere, but most of the remaining numbers are less threatening and John’s sense of humour is in evidence. A very entertaining release…


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