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If I see him I'm gonna beat him, gonna kick and bite him too, gonna take my Wade & Butcher, gonna cut him two in two - Bessie Smith, Hateful Blues, 1924

Author Topic: CW Stoneking Jungle Blues  (Read 2404 times)

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Offline thecountryblues

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CW Stoneking Jungle Blues
« on: August 27, 2009, 09:32:21 PM »
CW Stoneking
Jungle Blues
King Hokum Records
2008

It took about a year after its original release date of the immensely talented Australian bard?s ?Jungle Book? to make its way around the world.

So young a career, and already ?Jungle Blues? is a redemption of sorts. CW Stoneking, the self-proclaimed ?King of Hokum?, had overdone the hokum in his previous release by that same name, to the point where it became a question whether CW Stoneking had lost his marbles. Granted, the very nature of hokum is humorous, satirical nonsense flimflam, hooey, jazz, malarkey, and worst. Fuck ?em if they can?t take a joke. Right? You would have to be without a sense of humor not to laugh, unless of course, you were black, and that?s where the fun turned sour. CW, an Australian with American ancestry, is white as snow. Yet, in ?King Hokum? he mimicked stereotypical black American Gullah dialects and played a theatrical, Vaudevillian roles that attempted to portray an act. The problem was that it was an insurmountable cross-cultural, over-the-top gaffe of talking-black, as if CW had no understanding of the sensitivities of black Americans, who deeply despise these forms of portrayals as racist. Legitimately, black folks in America object to being ridiculed by acts that are reminiscent of the black-face minstrels. It is a real problem if a blues lover has to remove half-the songs from a CD in fear that one of those tunes would inadvertently pop up on the i-pod in front of one of his black friends. Seemingly, CW had no concept how his CD would be perceived in America. The reviewer, for one, was simply flabbergasted at the outrageous lack of understanding. Unintentional racism is racism, nonetheless, albeit maybe not a capital crime if the accused pleads ignorance. ?I?m from down under. We don?t know this.? I can buy that.
Still, it was clear that the Aussie bluesman was a little genius, although perhaps a mad one.

OK, somebody must have had a talk with the superlative blueser. Out comes ?Jungle Blues? a masterpiece worthy of serious contention for Country-Blues Album of the Year. Sheer joy! CW kept up his theatrical thematic but cut out the over-the-top blunders.
The paradigm has shifted. Once freed from the chains of all-that-bad-stuff, we can concentrate on the amazing creativity and substance of the genius storyteller CW Stoneking. Simply brilliant?a virtual audio theater play, filled with fun and exciting music that incorporates elements of early 20th Century Caribbean Calypso and Vaudeville, early Dixieland jazz and deep country blues. Accompanied by his equally crazy wife, Kirsty Fraser, on vocals, he assembled a band that might as well have stepped right out of 1928.

In many ways, CW Stoneking is comparable to a young Leon Redbone. Yes, I know what you are thinking. Could there be anyone like Leon? There wasn?t until now.
CW likes to yodel like Jimmie Rodgers, break into falsettos like Redbone and looks like he just stepped out of an old period movie set?like maybe ?The Sting? or ?Bonnie and Clyde?. He really looks the part, complete with the hair close cropped on the sides, the garb from head to toe. Like Leon, he is always in the act, dressed up for the part. He plays old parlour guitars, resonators and other old time guitars and in every conceivable way gives you the retro act. The result is a farcical journey into the jungles of Africa by explorers who meet the strangest adventures, and listeners are treated to a boundlessly exciting musical joyride.

Nonetheless, hardcore traditional music fans will be easily able to trace his derivative, but that?s all good for fans of the traditional and preservationists of the old-time sound. If blues fans were worried about the true origins of songs, who takes credit and who the actual songwriter was, they wouldn?t be listening to this type of music.

Fans of the 1930s music will swoon over this, and infectious diddies like ?Talkin? Lion Blues? will lock themselves unshakably into their heads? and they will enjoy ever minute of it. It is so old, yet so new; so ridiculous, yet so much fun! 

FM
27 Aug. 2009
FM
(no, not Frequency Modulation- Frank Matheis)

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: CW Stoneking Jungle Blues
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2009, 06:57:13 AM »
I think CW's a grat player, a great singer, and a great performer. Glad to hear he's ditched the (possibly misunderstood??) Emmett Miller references - they were beginning not to go down so well, even when Emmett did them (brilliant performer though Emmett was, and respectful of the origins of his 'act'). Can't wait to hear the new CD.

Offline Doc White

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Re: CW Stoneking Jungle Blues
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2009, 11:03:54 PM »
Having long trumpeted CW's talents and been roundly villified for it here, it is nice to see a positive review of the CD. He is currently touring the US, playing to black audiences who take the Emmett Miller stuff in the good humor in which it was intended. All African Americans to whom I played the CD when I was in the US earlier this year loved it (and King Hokum as well). It is worth noting though, that in every single case, I had to explain who Emmett Miller was and why some white guys thought they ought to be offended. Nobody gave a shit.
Chris

Offline Slack

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Re: CW Stoneking Jungle Blues
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2009, 07:54:38 AM »
Chris, to set the record straight - CW's talents were never vilified by this forum, in fact his talents were praised (and I've got the posts to prove it, which I'd be happy to remind you with in a PM or email).  What forum members objected to was the portrayal of racist stereotypes, which Frank refers to as well in his review - and you somehow ignored.  

I was glad to read in Frank's review that CW has now ditched the stereotypes in his new CD. That tells me he learned something from the criticism he received here and elsewhere on the internet. Which can only be a positive development for his young career.

Offline Doc White

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Re: CW Stoneking Jungle Blues
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2009, 12:48:49 AM »
Hi Slack,
I didn't say CW's talents were villified, I said I had been. And I was too.....by a particular contributor who shall remain nameless but was not you.
Chris

Offline Gumbo

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Re: CW Stoneking Jungle Blues
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2013, 03:32:21 PM »
I just found a copy of this a few weeks ago and it has been a fabulous surprise. Especially with the heat we've been getting.  In fact I think the CD may have created the 90? temperatures Ireland is basking in!

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