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Loosen Up!

You may hear smokin' rockin' blues a lot but you don't hear it played this good very often. I have seen RB Stone's name heralded by people I respect when it comes to musical choices but never followed it up and now wonder what I missed because Loosen Up! grabbed me by the 'nads much as Too Slim & The Taildraggers did and is not letting go. I mean, there are tons of musicians playing this kind of rock 'n' roll/blues/hard rock mix but most of them are evidently just going through the motions because next to Stone, most are but pale imitations.

I really don't know why people call this blues. I don't. There is more roots rock here than anything but writers label it blues. A few get it right because this is very early R&B in modern clothing--- think fifties. Wynonie Harris. Bull Moose Jackson. Not quite the power of Stone, but just as much attitude.

Here's why I care. I'm driving down the highway and Long Gone Lonesome Blues comes on and I'm turning it up and up and soon the seat belts not being used are rattling with vibrations so much I had to pull over. Not because of the seat belts but because there was enough early Allmans in the sound I had to know which track it was. I love a good jam and this was one of the better ones I've heard recently. In fact, a few of the songs on this disc are among the better ones I've heard lately.

Like the opener, High Horse, a chooglin' rock 'n' roller with enough Chuck Berry guitar to float a boat. Like the aforementioned Long Gone Lonesome Blues with its extended jam (but not extended enough, to my liking--- I could listen to jams like this for hours). Like God Heals You When You Cry, a plugged-in blues ballad of the first order. Like the slightly honky-tonk boogie take on She's Too Hot To Handle.

Michael Kinsman, who writes for Blues Revue, said this about him: ?RB Stone lives in his own kick-ass roadhouse, where the songs rock you from side to side and the words bite back at you. This is the true originality of a renegade spirit.? Couldn't have said it better myself.

And just so you know, here is a lineup worth traveling to see: RB Stone/Lead Vocals, Harmonica, Cigar Box Guitar; Tom Hambridge/Drums; Robert Britt/Guitars; Tommy McDonald/Bass; and Jefferson Jarvis/keyboards. Take a bow, gentlemen. You done good!

Available for purchase here.

Frank O. Gutch Jr.

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