For the uninitiated, the first shock on listening to this is discovering that it was recorded in 2008, and not some eighty years earlier. The second is that the artist is, in fact, a young Australian and not a grizzled Delta bluesman holed up in some southern swamp.
Perfectly capturing various musical styles and moods of the twenties and thirties without the slightest hint of pastiche - field holler, calypso, blues, voodoo and folk are all brilliantly represented - the album is a joy from start to finish and is even better than Stoneking's stirring debut 'King Hokum'.
The likes of Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal have been here before, but whereas Cooder in particular had the unerring knack of uncovering and reviving precious gems from a long-gone era, here with the exception of Wilmoth Houdini's 'Brave Son of America' these are all original compositions by Stoneking that you'd bet your mortgage had been around for generations, such is their apparent authenticity and uncanny attention to detail.
'Jungle Blues', 'Jungle Lullaby', 'The Love Me Or Die' and the Houdini cover are simply inspired, the real standouts in a truly striking collection.
It all sounds remarkably like the soundtrack to a retro movie that's just waiting to be shot. The man's a true original.
Even better - if that's possible - than his debut, King Hokum.
There's something that should be incredibly uncomfortable about a white Australian in his 20s singing in the style of those granular delta blues recordings from the 1920s and 30s, but this is pure genius - with no element of pastiche: somehow this is the real thing.
Jungle Blues seems a darker, less comic album than King Hokum, but has even greater variety - the high points for me being the cover of Wilmoth Houdini's Brave Son of America, the title track, and the wonderful Jungle Lullaby.
What a strange record! It is a true throwback to the 20's and thirties and I absolutely love it. If you've been to New Orleans you will have seen bands and artists like this perfoming in bars and clubs all over the place. This album will appear to young blues aficionados and those who are in to Mumford and Sons and the like, but I could give this to my mother and she'd love it as well. I just hope the PC police keep their paws off this as I have heard rumblings of dissent about a white Australian in his mid thirties recreating this sound with a deep "negro" voice. This doesn't appear to be a pastiche, he really means it and I'd recommend an interview in Word magazine to prove it. I sense someone who really loves this sort of music and is trying to make it as authentic as possible. Or are we all being gulled?
Anyway, as it stands this album is fascinating and fantastic and a cult hit in the making.
C.W. Stoneking - Jungle Blues (King Hokum) C.W. Stoneking is a young, white Australian bloke who shouldn't be bringing out records like this. "Jungle Blues" is definitely a blues album; one that sounds like it was beamed in from another age, when old country and jazz were equally important influences. His old timey style brings to mind musicians who would have been found on street corners a century ago, as well as reasonably well known performers such as Louis Armstrong (when the trumpet kicks in) and Jimmie Rodgers when he's yodeling.
Stoneking and "Jungle Blues" doesn't really sound like either them, but if you're a fan of Dr. John's "Gris Gris", or Tom Waits' early records, you owe it to yourself to at least have a listen. 9/10.
Saw this guy on "Later with Jools Holland" ,and my brain couldnt compute what i was hearing. A white 30 something Aussie guy sounding like a black 60 year old american blues singer This album is brilliant ,5 or 6 great tracks on here .I love "early in the morning" and"brave son of america" and the brilliant "jungle lullaby"
My favourite this year ,where does Jools Holland find them ?
I saw this band by accident on the Jules Holland programme and was blown away. The slightly eccentric presentation may have had something to do with the appeal - think Temperance Seven - but it is obvious that he has a real feeling for blues music and the fact that he has written all tracks bar one - Son of America - shows C W's involvement. The arrangements and band's musicianship is on a par with the blues and New Orleans bands of old - trumpet and trombone especially - and the authenticity of his feeling for the blues sticks out a mile. BUY THIS CD IF YOU LIKE BLUES AND OLD FASHIONED JAZZ!!
This is an absolutely outstanding slice of real blues, superbly sung and played, but there all familiarity with most of the rest of recorded blues music ends. It's like gone back in time and yet feels as good as now. The sleeve calls it'A revelation, it's like listening to an old 78 recovered from a dusty attic in New Orleans', and another review put it this way 'It's a delight all the way'. it is C W Stoneking is old in style but produce a music cornucopia of pure listening magic. this was not recorded in New Orleans, Memphis or any of those classic areas noted for this music, no this was done in Victoria, Australia. The band alongside the resonator guitar has banjo' trombone, double bass, fiddle, trumpet, sousaphone, viola, washboard, drums of course, piano, saxophones, harmonica and clarinet.Contains ten truly great tracks with wonderful titles such as ,'Talkin' Lion Blues', 'Jungle Lullaby', 'Brave Son Of America','Jailhouse Blues', 'Housebound Blues', and 'The Greatest Liar'. This is one you've just got to hear, it's different, and not like anything else around today bit like Jimmie Rogers the singing brakeman hits with a band of New Orleans top musicians. All played by the man who signs himself as C W Stoneking, Composer of blues, Hokum and Jungle Music' and as he also says which sums this amazing set up is ,'We drank rum 'til late in the night, I sang every old-time blues that I'd ever known, calypsos and requests. As the sun came up, I christened their boat, 'The Mississippi Song-O', and decided to join them on their journey, across the Atlantic and into west africa. This is how I ended up with the dreaded Jungle Blues'. Great story but a very wonderful hugely enjoyable album to get more and more pleasure from everytime it gets to be played, and that could be quite aot !
I've heard some strange albums in my time, and this is among the strangest. The sleeve notes and constructed authenticity have an air of Dr John's Gris-gris while Stoneking's voice - an incongruous "he's never white!" mix of Louis Prima and gravelly while still young Ralph Stanley - sounds like it's been conjured from a sharecropping plantation deep in the Louisiana swamp. Not a single weak song on an album that proves that the format isn't quite dead yet through sheer force of character. A wonderfully textured study of the Southern Macabre with just a hint of Conrad.
Feels like new orleans, feels like blues, feels like steamboats, trains and cotton pinking. Stoneking has his unique style, and shows perfection in what he does. Even though very strongly influenced in early blues and jazz his songs are still unique. Divine vocals. Don't miss it.
With a voice that is, at times, the love-child of Tom Waits (Frank's Wild Years), George Melly (Nuts) and Elmer Fudd(Darned Wabbit!), and orchestration straight from a Zoot Suit Film Noir from 1947, CW Stoneking should've been sitting on a darkened stage at the back of a palm-filled bar in almost any movie starring a Bogart, Greenstreet and Lorre combination. At times you can almost feel the sweat trickle down your collar and into your white linen suit.
If this is a pastiche, it's one of the best pastiches I've ever enjoyed. There was a period in the middle 1970's when this artist would've been a huge star along with Manhattan Transfer and the like.
There are plenty of reviews before mine telling all about the music. I'll just say it's great fun and a very 'jolly' album.