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I cut him with my Barlow, I kicked him in the side, I stood there laughing over him, while he wallowed 'round and died - Bessie Smith, Send Me To The 'Lectric Chair

Author Topic: CW Stoneking- Bristol, Uk.  (Read 4301 times)

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Offline Norfolk Slim

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CW Stoneking- Bristol, Uk.
« on: September 09, 2010, 03:20:55 AM »
I'd heard the name a few times, but hadn't seen or heard much of what he did myself.  With the wife away for a few days, and a drinking partner available (occasional weenie- "Harvey") I went along to see CW Stoneking at Thekla in Bristol.  The venue was great- an old steel boat moored permanently at the docks- which added to the atmosphere considerably.

There has been some controversy about what CW does and suggestions that the manner in which he adopts the persona of a black rural musician from the 20s (southern drawl, dialect and all) is, coming from a white Australian, offensive.  Having now seen his show for myself, I'm not going to say any more than this:

For me, Stoneking chooses to evoke a sound and atmosphere of another age, and he does so by playing a role.  In the opening number the vocal felt somewhat contrived, but I quickly bought into what he was doing and enjoyed it for what it was- an accomplished and loving recreation.  I found it no more offensive than the persona Leon Redbone plays.  In fact much of what he did reminded me of Redbone quite strongly.  Notably his natural voice is actually very similar to how he sings, only the accent appears to change slightly to achieve the effect required.

I really enjoyed the gig- it was certainly not like anything I have seen before.  The band consisted of a trombone, trumpet, drums and a double bass (and occasionally sousaphone).  Stoneking played a single cone National Resophonic and a (wonderful sounding) 6 string banjo into a microphone, but it was very much the vocal and the big overall sound that took centre stage.  The brass section (well, pair) were fantastic, moving seemlessly from big "party" horn sounds, to dirty New Orleans' growl.

Stoneking did a few of numbers alone including a couple of self penned delta tunes out of C and G and his playing style (which is not particularly intricate, but solid) and vocal really suited, giving an almost Patton-like sound and timbre.  We'd have liked to see a bit more of that type of tune, but we were soon back to the big noise, the excellent wailing horns and what JohnM would describe as "heavy time".

Good fun and I'm glad I went.  He won't be to everyone's taste, but I'd certainly go again.

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: CW Stoneking- Bristol, Uk.
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2010, 03:47:49 AM »
Glad you were brave enough to bring this up, Slim! I saw CW in Glasgow last week and he and the band were superb. I don't think his voice is any more contrived than that of any non US native, and he has a husky timbre that works really well. His self penned songs in the style of early jazz, hokum, blues and calypso were brilliant. His storytelling is witty and very funny. And his blues playing is excellent. The audience, apart from yours truly, comprised mostly younger folk - and as  I was pointing out to Parlor Picker in a wee facebook exchange we had on the matter, it was refreshing to see twenty- and thirty-somethings grooving to Tommy Maclennan, played with an authenticity that made you feel like Tommy was in the room! Now, I take on board your point that what CW does may not be to everyone's taste, and he certainly didn't do himself any favours in the Weenie debacle of a couple of years ago. But I'd say: don't knock him till you've tried him in live performance, with that wonderful band lovingly and respectfully recreating the sounds of an earlier time. It's what many of us here try to do, isn't it?

Offline Norfolk Slim

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Re: CW Stoneking- Bristol, Uk.
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2010, 04:04:07 AM »
My sentiments exactly.

Offline Pan

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Re: CW Stoneking- Bristol, Uk.
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2010, 04:31:57 AM »
Thanks for the review guys.

He'll be in Berlin on the 20th, I'll try to go and see him myself.

Cheers

Pan

Offline harvey

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Re: CW Stoneking- Bristol, Uk.
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2010, 04:49:39 AM »
I found the midnight stroll round Bristol looking for somewhere to eat more interesting but that is another story for another day.  :D

Really enjoyed it too, good venue and the band were excellent. I will sit on the fence regarding his singing, I am not quite sure if I liked it or not but it is just a taste thing. The overall sound was great and a great song selection, I have never been keen on those talking parts at that start of songs, but it was well done I have to say.

Just another comment on his singing that I never really thought about till day after the show, maybe it was my perception but he seemed to get a lot of volume without moving his mouth much (?)









Offline Norfolk Slim

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Re: CW Stoneking- Bristol, Uk.
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2010, 05:05:52 AM »
For the record- my feet hurt like hell today....

Offline Richard

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Re: CW Stoneking- Bristol, Uk.
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2010, 06:47:34 AM »
Quote
I found the midnight stroll round Bristol looking for somewhere to eat more interesting but that is another story for another day.

Harvey, where did you go, The Bunch Of Grapes in St Nicholas S :ot

The gig sounds interesting musically, as for the Thekla it used be right sod to get a drum kiton and off years ago!
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: CW Stoneking- Bristol, Uk.
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2010, 06:54:45 AM »
Quote
Thekla it used be right sod to get a drum kiton and off

Translation please ;)
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
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Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: CW Stoneking- Bristol, Uk.
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2010, 08:18:55 AM »
Quote
Thekla it used be right sod to get a drum kiton and off

Translation please ;)

Please adopt 'posh' British accent:
If one is playing a concert at the Thekla auditorium in the ancient British city of Bristol and one happens to be the percussionist in the orchestra, it can be extremely taxing manoeuvring one's drumkit on and off the stage.
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Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: CW Stoneking- Bristol, Uk.
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2010, 08:23:00 AM »
I was flummoxed by the word "kiton" I suppose drum should have been a giveaway :-*
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline slideaway

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Re: CW Stoneking- Bristol, Uk.
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2010, 05:19:25 PM »
yeah i'm blown away by the packed houses of youngsters he manages to generate too! not many if any blues/jazz acts command that sort attention in these parts.. cw's outback RURAL NT accent is about as strong as an aussie accent gets, but he does have a US connection still, like some other well known aussie roots ... to me i pick up a Tom Waits influence/element in what he is doing, maybe the hipness part?, tom Waits is still a very big and very hip star/legend down here, and he is certainly no Black musician from the 1920's as far as i know

Offline wheresthedrama

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Re: CW Stoneking- Bristol, Uk.
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2010, 06:12:34 PM »
knowing something about cw stoneking lineage would be useful to those of you who seem to think roots and origins are important - which i think they are. stoneking is the son of the american poet/filmmaker and teacher, billy marshall stoneking and the writer/poet paty marshall stace, who came to australia in 1972 and stayed. billy's parents are both from west virginia and paty's from pennsylvania. their grandparents were working class people that some used to unflatteringly refer to as hillbillies. most of the stoneking and marshall families still reside in the hills of west virginia, mainly in grafton. for more info on cw's paternal family see http://www.stonekingbio.webs.com added to this, cw grew up on an aboriginal settlement - from the age of 4 to 9 - at a place called papunya, 275 kms west, northwest of alice spirings. indeed, he was born in katerine northern territory during the great flood of '74 and had to be evacuated from the katernine hospital as the river was licking at the backdoor - cw's love of music and his electic dedication to the varioius styles he plays are soldly grounded in his genealogy.

Offline slideaway

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Re: CW Stoneking- Bristol, Uk.
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2010, 07:08:55 PM »
sorry to hijack this thread.. but this theme of political correctness (from the country that has always to me, appeared to pride itself on lack of political correctness (you know that european effection) i have detected an undertone of for some time in sites like this, and on youtube comments, little digs of preciousness all over the place, ...
wheres it all going? is certain genres of music going to be protected species/brands like champagne can only come from champagne region of france, sparkling wine to the rest of us, gouda and the rest cheese's .. well it cheeses me off a little  >:D
discuss  :P
« Last Edit: September 09, 2010, 07:10:08 PM by slideaway »

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: CW Stoneking- Bristol, Uk.
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2010, 08:21:45 PM »
Actually we've done this topic to death already, and I doubt there's more of substance to add. Check out what's already been said.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline slideaway

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Re: CW Stoneking- Bristol, Uk.
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2010, 08:43:58 PM »
what search words do i use? cw stoneking? how far back do i need to go? i am newish to weenie
the topic may be old hat around, but i still experience the attitude almost daily, so nothing has been resolved? just seems to be getting worse to me..
cheers

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