The Alligator debut by these masters of houserocking classic Chicago blues, raw Delta blues and rockabilly, features six fresh-as-today's-headlines originals like "Blues For Chi-Raq," "Build That Wall" and "If You Got A Jealous Woman Facebook Ain't Your Friend," and reignites songs by Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed and more. A raucous album full of telepathic ensemble playing, whether shuffling hard, jumping like mad or getting down into raw, slow blues. "One of the best blues bands in the land" —Living Blues
The Cash Box Kings are:
Joe Nosek: Harmonica, Vocals (4,8,13)
Oscar Wilson: Vocals (1,2,3,5,6,7,9,10,11,12)
Billy Flynn: Guitar (1,2,3,4,5,7,9,10,12,13), Mandolin (8)
Joel Paterson: Guitar (1,5,6,7,11)
Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith: Drums (1,5,7)
Mark Haines: Drums (2,4,8,9,10,12,13)
Brad Ber: Upright and Electric Bass (1,2,3,5,7,8,9,10,12,13)
with Special Guests:
Lee Kanehira: Piano (1,2,3,4,7,8,9,10,12,13), Organ (10)
Mel Ford: Rhythm Guitar (2,3,4,8,9,10,12)
Alex Hall: Drums (3)
The C-Note Horns:
Al Falaschi: Tenor and Baritone Saxophones (1,5,12)
Darren Sterud: Trombone (5)
Jim Doherty: Trumpet (5)
Produced by Joe Nosek
Recorded by Mark Haines at Williamson Magnetic Recording, Madison, WI
Mixed by Alex Hall and Bruce Iglauer at Reliable Recorders, Chicago, IL
Mastered by Collin Jordan and Bruce Iglauer at The Boiler Room, Chicago, IL
Design by Kevin Niemiec
Photos by Chris Monaghan, shot at The California Clipper, Chicago, IL
Pinup illustration © Time Tunnel, Inc.
This album is dedicated to Barrelhouse Chuck. We are grateful to have known you as a friend and bandmate. Thanks for all the music and laughs that you brought to this world.
The Cash Box Kings are dedicated to rocking the house with real deal, old school blues. They’ve mastered the classic 1940s and 50s blues sounds of Chicago’s Chess Records, yet they’re equally at home playing rip-it-up jump blues, lowdown Delta blues and a style they call ‘bluesabilly’—a hybrid of classic Chicago blues and Memphis rockabilly. But The Cash Box Kings are not merely museum-piece imitators of throwback styles of American blues and roots music. Inspired by the classic sounds, they create striking original songs about everything from love in the age of the Internet to gun violence in Chicago, written and delivered with serious passion and wry humor.
Harmonicat Joe Nosek and vocalist Oscar Wilson are the cornerstones of the band. The interplay of Oscar’s huge roar of a voice and Joe’s powerhouse harmonica deliver the essence of the blues. Although they are on the same wavelength musically, they came to the blues in very different ways. Moving to Chicago in his early teens, Nosek soaked up the sounds of the blues on the radio and live at the Chicago Blues Festival. A few years later he began sneaking into bars to see legends like Junior Wells, James Cotton, Otis Rush, Jimmy Rogers and Willie Dixon. Inspired by these giants, Nosek took up the harmonica and immersed himself in the blues. Galvanized by the playing of Little Walter, Big Walter Horton and the first Sonny Boy Williamson, Joe honed his own aggressive, fluid style. After moving to Madison, Wisconsin, he co-founded the first incarnation of The Cash Box Kings in 2001. With constant gigging, the band built a solid Midwest fan base. But in 2007, when Oscar Wilson joined the band, his straight-from-the-soul vocals and larger-than-life charisma launched them as a world-class blues band.
Oscar was literally born into the blues. Living on 43rd Street (aka Muddy Waters Drive) on Chicago’s South Side, he grew up in a musical family. During his youth, bluesmen like Junior Wells, Elmore James and Big Smokey Smothers were all regular visitors at the Friday night fish fries at the Wilson home. Oscar made his musical debut at age 11, singing at a house party with his neighbor, the legendary David “Honeyboy” Edwards. With his gigantic, rough-edged voice, Wilson, now in his 60s, proudly carries on the classic Chicago blues vocal tradition. Standing 6’1” and weighing in at over three hundred pounds, he’s part Muddy Waters, part Jimmy Reed and part Cedric the Entertainer. Despite very different upbringings and 20 years’ age difference, Nosek and Wilson are not only bandmates and songwriting partners, but also close friends.
The rest of The Cash Box Kings’ “blues collective” is made up of some of today’s best traditional blues musicians, who appear in different combinations at different performances. Founding member Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith or Mark Haines will be drumming, with Joel Paterson or Billy Flynn (or both) on guitar and Brad Ber on bass. Sometimes they are joined by the newest member, “Cash Box Queen” Lee Kanehira on piano.
Sadly, this was the first recording made in the last 10 years without their friend and bandmate, keyboard master Barrelhouse Chuck. Chuck, who battled and eventually succumbed to cancer during the recording of the album, was not well enough to play on the sessions.
We are very happy about finding a new home with Bruce Iglauer and the good folks at Alligator Records. As blues musicians who grew up in Chicago, becoming a part of the Alligator roster is a great honor for us. It’s the label that has released some of our all-time favorite blues records. We believe that Royal Mint, our ninth record, is our strongest yet. We’re very excited about what the future with Alligator holds. Hopefully it will include the opportunity for us to come to a stage near you and share the music on this album live and in person. —Joe and Oscar
Joe Nosek tips his crown and thanks: Kristina Espinoza, Jerry Del Giudice, Edward Chmelewski, Debra Regur, Alex Hall, Little Frank Krakowski, E.G. McDaniel, Tom McCarty, Derrick Hendrickson, Juan Carlos Espinoza-Forlenza, Dave Specter, Mark Maddox and Buddy Guy’s Legends, Jimena Ber, Mary Flynn, Morry Sochat, Chris Pauls, Doug and Cheryl Lewis, Chris Kalmbach and the Knuckle Down Saloon, the Kentuckiana Blues Society, Peter Greatorex, Orlando Shearer, Justin O’Brien, Linda Cain, Karen Murphy, Holger Peterson and Lailaw Taherzadeh and The California Clipper.
Oscar Wilson would like to thank: Robert “Fat Daddy” Peterson (R.I.P.), my siblings, my parents Harvey Samuel Wilson Sr. and Maxine Crisp Wilson, my wife Felicia, my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, all my fans, my best friend of over 60 years Nat Franks, Harry Smith, Joe Nosek and all The Cash Box Kings, all my friends in Janesville, and my “Moms”—Matilda Franks, Barbara Russell, Gerri Melchi, and the “J girls.” Most of all, I thank God Almighty for blessing me with good friends and family. Last but not least, I’ve got to give a shout-out to the Hood, 43rd St., 4tray, where I was born and raised.
For more information about The Cash Box Kings
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