Chris JAMES & Patrick RYNN – Gonna Boogie Anyway 2010

Chris JAMES & Patrick RYNN – Gonna Boogie Anyway 2010

Blues

Chris James and Patrick Rynn have become a premier blues tandem over several decades. Even though only recognized universally in the 2000s, they’re really hitting their stride on this 2010 release with a full-blown band that fully exposes just how talented they are. Help from pianists David Maxwell or Henry Gray, a strong sense of tradition, and energy to burn are the hallmarks for the James/Rynn combo to cut loose and play the electric blues they love. Authenticity is the key to the James/Rynn express, as they steamroll through covers written by Ellis McDaniels, Jimmy Reed, Robert Jr. Lockwood, old-school rock à la Chuck Berry, “Tequila”-type twang, steady rolling boogie, and some of their expected guitar/bass duets. The title track, “Life Couldn’t Be Sweeter” and “H.M. Stomp” are prototypical good-time songs, with the legendary Gray fueling the fire as only he can. Then again, Maxwell has his own inimitable way of stoking the barrelhouse fires, as on “The Tables Have Turned” a straight boogie with a potent horn section appearing occasionally, as do harmonicists Bob Corritore or Rob Stone, guitarist Jeff Stone, and on two tracks, the legendary drummer Sam Lay. Unreserved and cut loose, James and Rynn are potent, and come close to their potential on this fine example of Chicago blues brought into the uptown landscape of today.
By Michael G. Nastos.
**
I’m continually amazed when I hear contemporary blues musicians play traditional blues music that doesn’t sound like contrived, cliche-ridden imitation. It’s not easy, which probably explains why so many of those who might have been inclined to try abandon it for the greener, easier pastures of the blues’ offspring, rock and roll.

In high school foreign language classes, I began from the mindset of an English speaker trying to translate thought into another language: “How would you say ________ in Spanish?” or “What’s the word for ________ in Japanese?” I never got to a point where thoughts formed in those languages, always requiring premeditated thought and translation.

The first thing you notice about Chris James and Patrick Rynn is how natural and effortless they sound and that doesn’t change whether they’re playing their own material or the music of others. They don’t sound like they’re trying. They don’t sound like they’re recycling rock and roll that began as blues and trying to bring it back to the blues nor do they sound like they’ve ever had to ask themselves, “What would Muddy Waters do?” They just play.

That ease manifests itself in many ways on Gonna Boogie Anyway, primarily its cohesiveness. Everything feels instinctive: the grooves, swings, and solos all feel like they belong exactly where they landed and as if they couldn’t have come out sounding any other way. Nothing sounds out of place and it’s all done without sounding labored or studied.

The album opens with “Money Don’t Like Me,” a great original that mixes Chicago’s classic blues sound with a big city, doo-wop swing delivered courtesy of Sam Lay’s drumming and the twin tenor saxes. Lay drummed for Howlin’ Wolf and on countless other Chess singles and he also played a significant role in bringing James and Rynn together, hiring them both to play in his combo. “Money” is so good they put in on Boogie twice, once with James’ smoking vocal as well as an instrumental take.

“Life Couldn’t Be Any Sweeter” rides James’ gritty slide work and some greasy sax with some timeless tinkling from veteran sideman Henry Gray, who also played with Howlin’ Wolf as well as Billy Boy Arnold and a slew of others. The duo twice pay tribute to the great Bo Diddley, doing a remarkable job of recreating his signature rhythmic style on “Dearest Darling.”

One of the finest moments comes when James, Rynn, and pianist David Maxwell slow things down on “You Can’t Trust Nobody.” Maxwell’s piano sounds like it was pulled from a saloon from one of those classic Westerns. Rynn swaps to an upright bass and locks in with Maxwell, allowing James to ride the top with his guitar and vocal. Another highlight is the punishing instrumental, “H.M. Stomp.” The rhythm section of drummer Eddie Kobek, Gray, and Rynn creates a deep, dirty pocket for James and harp man Bob Corritore. And Corritore cuts through that beautiful murk, making his notes shake like the great Walter Horton did for so many years.

Otis Spann released an album in 1966 called The Blues Is Where It’s At. That was true then and Gonna Boogie Anyway stands as proof that it’s true today.
By Josh Hathaway.
**
Hot on the heels of their Blues Music Award-nominated Earwig debut, Stop And Think About It, San Diego-based vocalist/guitarist Chris James and bassist Patrick Rynn return with their eagerly awaited encore Gonna Boogie Anyway. Christ and Patrick’s roots are firmly planted in traditional blues; they’re expert at raw-edged Chicago and Delta styles as well as swinging jump blues. Gonna Boogie Anyway features several unplugged selections – a first for the duo – showcasing their unerring grasp of the idiom alongside hard-driving band-backed tracks. Original material dominates, though Chris and Patrick revive classics by Bo Diddley, Jimmy Reed, and Robert Lockwood, Jr. Their studio cohorts include piano legends Henry Gray (1950s sideman to Bo Diddley and Howlin’ Wolf) and ex-Freddie King keyboard accompanist David Maxwell and drummers Sam Lay and Willie Hayes; Bob Corritore and Earwig label mate Rob Stone share harmonica duties. Deep, satisfying blues with a high-energy swagger!
**
Henry Gray, David Maxwell- (Piano),
Sam Lay,  Willie Hayes, Eddie Kobek- (Drums),
Jeff Stone- (Guitar),
Jonny Viau- (Saxophone),
Rob Stone- (Harmonica), (Maracas),
Bob Corritore- (Harmonica),
Patrick Rynn- (Bass),
Chris James- (Guitar), (Vocals).
Allen OrtiZ- (Saxophone).
**
01. Money Don’t Like Me  3:59
02. Dearest Darling  4:46
03. You Can’t Trust Nobody  3:44
04. Life Couldn’t Be Sweeter  4:14
05. H.M. Stomp  4:06
06. Headed Out West  3:26
07. Can’t Stand To See You Go  3:48
08. Gonna Boogie Anyway  3:37
09. The Tables Have Turned  3:41
10. Money Don’t Like Me Part2  4:31
11. Black Spider Blues  3:29
12. Little Girl  3:56
**


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