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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just brilliant, swampy, drowsy, freaky blues with a hint of T.Waits, 10 Feb. 2009
This review is from: King Hokum [Australian Import] (Audio CD)
This guy has been a revelation. Like a previous reviewer I went to the Hollerers, Stompers show at the Barbican and couldn't forget this guy..very strange but very, very unique. This music just gets to you...it's pretty hypnotic and strange, his voice...like some backwater hobo or lost 1920's blues artist. This album and the excellent (in some ways better) follow up 'Jungle Blues' remind me a little of Tom Waits - weird tempos and textures...he really deserves greater success. A unique talent.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rare Talent - essential, 7 April 2008
By 
Barry McGloin "Baz" (Canberra, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: King Hokum [Australian Import] (Audio CD)
Here in Australia we are blessed with some fine blues musicians, some surprisingly in the raw, primitive, rootsy style. Three artists stand out for me, Hat Fitz, the group Collard, Greens and Gravy and the inimitable C.W.Stoneking. How does Oz produce living anachronisms like Fitz and Stoneking when the genre emerged almost a century back in the U.S.A. born out of the black experience? Well there may be similarities in the culture apart from Australia's natural propensity to produce quirky offspring.

C.W. Stoneking spent his early years way out of the Alice on an aboriginal settlement, so the bio says. His West Virginian father was a teacher there. The parents split up, his mother returned to the U.S. Who knows, the bio may be Stoneking's story to flavour his art, much as Bob Zimmerman concocted his bio in the early years.

In fact there are many similarities between early Dylan and C.W. Stoneking. Both excellent songwriters, interpreters, singers, musicians, appreciators and appropriators of roots music, entertainers. Dylan with his Chaplinesque comedy on stage and C.W muttering away between songs in a rustic black American/aboriginal patois which requires subtitles and some tangential imagination to follow. Both artists steeped in the form, in its many guises. Both artists with a touch of sly wit, put on, hokum.

King Hokum is an extraordinary album. C.W. Stoneking is a deceptively fine guitarist and banjo player, not flash but subtle, spare and gutsy. The years of solo performing bear fruit. The addition of the Primitive Horn Orchestra on several tracks provides superb backdrop which finds you immersed in a New Orleans saloon in the late 1920s. The production by J. Walker is marvelously empathic; a warm atmosphere where less is more - a lesser producer with a modern brush could easily have ruined the album. Various ambient noises, the caw of a crow, toll of a bell, bustle of a bar add to the atmosphere.

Musical highlights are many. Mike Andrews' piano, particularly on the boogie piece `Goin The Country', Chris Tanner's clarinet on `Rich Man's Blues', Kirsty Fraser's sassy vocals on the vaudeville blues pieces, the rich, loose punctuation of the Primitive Horn Orchestra, but above all C.W.'s vocals and playing. His voice is tough and ragged, loud and languid. You hear echoes of Son House, Charlie Patton, Blind Willie Johnson and Blind Willie McTell mmmm - maybe closer is Walter Vinson from the Mississippi Sheiks... and in `Bad Luck Everywhere You Go' the screech of the Memphis recorded Howlin' Wolf - used also by Tom Waits, if memory serves me. In the guitar work you can hear Robert Johnson, Lonnie Johnson and Memphis Minnie.

His dialogue intros depict a rare understanding of the form and are witty and droll. There is a danger of pastiche but C.W. is too clever or honest for that. In the 20s style the double entendre and sexual metaphor is present, however it will fly over the heads of any teenagers listening. Unless you laugh. In which case you may have to explain why Willie's long necked lizard went limp or why she wanted a cockatoo!!

Each track is a gem, delivering more with further listening. Such conviction and artistry would lead lesser bluesmen to the crossroads. C.W. Stoneking is in his early thirties. We can look forward to further expression of his art. In the meantime, give praise.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS IS SIMPLY WONDERFUL MUSIC, UNMISSABLE !, 2 April 2013
By 
pete clack - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: King Hokum (Audio CD)
The name C.W.Stoneking or King hokum as he's called on this blues based release, but this ain't no type blues your hearing anywhere else. It's as if you've gone back in time, to the days of acetates and those breakable 78's. The cover shows our man in an evening suit and bowtie, black felt hat on and strumming his National resonator guitar. The album contains eleven tracks with titles such as, 'Way Out In The World', 'Don't Go Dancin' down The Darktown SDtrutters Ball' oh what a track to get those feet a movin' too !, 'She's A Bread Baker', 'Dodo Blues', 'On a Christmas Day' and the truly magical duet 'Goin' The Country' which opens with two folk having a chat before this song gets into it's stride. Recoded, no not in the USA but far from it in the blues delta of, wait for it, yes ! Victoria, Australia. The band lead brilliantly by CW plus Kirsty Fraser also on vocals plus trombone,trumpet,tenor banjo,clarinet, sousaphone, double bass, piano, drums oh and the wonderous sound of the jug. This is one great disc you have just got to hear, it won't get onto Radio One, or be featured at the Radio One weekend but last year they played Cheltenham Jazz Festival as part of their tour here and were simply awesome.
This is original, classsic but most of all the best thing to come along in years and if this amazing band don't get the success they deserve it will be unfair, CW and his band are the stuff of music legends. Wholeheartedly recommended !
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars is this the new king!, 17 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: King Hokum (Audio CD)
the king hokum album is very much bluesey country album mr stoneking taking music back to its roots i find very pleasing to the ear mr stoneking vocals are wonderfully outstanding its great to know that there are still some singer song writers out there.with all this rap crap so called artiste!who can't write a single note!king hokum is a very good album don't take my word for it go out and get it!maybe you are the new king c.w.!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Once heard, you're hooked!, 4 Feb. 2009
This review is from: King Hokum [Australian Import] (Audio CD)
I'd never heard of C W Stoneking until i saw him play a couple of tracks at the excellent Gig hosted by Seasick Steve, during BBC4's Folk Series. I couldn't get his voice, together with that stunning banjo, out of my head. Luckily, i taped it, & have watched it several times. I ended up ordering his CD, King Hokum, via Amazon, together with his other offering; "Jungle Blues". Both are just great albums. All the songs are strong & he never seems to disappoint. Difficult to actually categorise, but to quote Seasick Steve, "some people seem stuck in the 20's, but this here C W Stoneking, he got it bad, real bad". Sound's about right to me. They may be a little pricey, but both cd's are definately worth checking out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best artists on this planet !!!, 16 Nov. 2011
By 
Pierre Brewee - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: King Hokum [Australian Import] (Audio CD)
I heard this artist in the living room of a good friend. WAAAAAWWWWW !!!!!! This is GREAT !!!!!! Old blues, calypso, Tom Waits, Leon Redbone, country, ... All this beautiful music, this beautiful artists, together in ONE record. Great !!!!!! Marvelous. Five stars means I love it but I should say more than that: I'm willing to do a murder for this artist. Absolutely a must have.
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5.0 out of 5 stars More gems from the King of Hokum, 16 July 2013
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This review is from: King Hokum (Audio CD)
Having recently bought Jungle Blues by C W I felt bound to try some more of his off centre musical offerings. That unique line up of banjo and brass is enough to stir anyone with a serious interest in the 'old' music despite it being very contemporary.
In particular I love his rendition of 'Don't go dancing at the Darktown Strutters Ball'. There are also a few tracks of comedic content and the female voice adds greatly to the fake old style settings.
He deserves wider recognition as an innovator working from the past.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An talented artist with a sense of humour, 14 Jun. 2015
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This review is from: King Hokum (MP3 Download)
Not as good as later albums but certainly good fun. Saw him recently in London on the Gone Boogaloo tour - one of the most entertaining concerts I have ever been to. Great performance and genuinely funny stories and stage banter. The back up singers dressed in gold and hit all the marks. Got a signed poster at the end of the night, as C.W. came out and met the fans.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Top Top Marks, 11 Feb. 2009
This review is from: King Hokum [Australian Import] (Audio CD)
Like most people in the UK I first saw him performing on Seasick Steve's show at the Barbican, great tunes and his mumbling voice keep you hanging on his every word. I've listened to all the tracks loads of times and hear something new on every occasion.
Great and worth every penny.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Strange voice, 17 April 2012
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This review is from: King Hokum (Audio CD)
I bought this album on the strength of the reviews.
It is excellent but what a strange voice for apparently an Australian.
The music or rather his band is as in character as is 'Hokum'.
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King Hokum [Australian Import]
King Hokum [Australian Import] by CW Stoneking (Audio CD - 2008)
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