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King Hokum (KHR01CD)

You bought his ‘Jungle Blues' CD (King Hokum KHR02) because every review you read promised it was a matchless piece of primitiveness that captured the very essence of old time music, black and white. And you loved the various snippets you'd seen on late night TV.

So now it's time to take a look at the album that started it all for C W Stoneking.

On ‘King Hokum' he concentrates on the blues, howlin' and growlin' ‘em out like Charley Patton or Willie Brown would while making his National guitar sing out old-style. It's not your usual choice of topics for the songs either with C W sincerely tackling subjects as diverse as bad luck, bread bakers, rich men, handymen, the dodo and his thing - all performed in a whiskery growl that sounds like a cross between Emmett Miller and an aboriginal bar tender.

His guitar is augmented by a stuttering alter-ego on Goin' The Country, the ghost of George Lewis on Rich Man's Blues and a horny sense of humour in You Took My Thing - "you said you wouldn't mind a cockatoo to keep you entertained, when I found out what you was talkin' bout, well I knew you was insane".

CW Stoneking is a white singer obsessed with the more eccentric side of jazz, blues and minstrelsy who presents himself as a mysterious figure in the same way that Leon Redbone did forty years ago except CW seems to have a more authentic feel to his persona.

You loved ‘Jungle Blues' - you'd be a stone-fool to miss this.

Ask for KHR01CD

Review Date: April 2011

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