John Cee Stannard’s Latest Album Takes You To The River

John Cee Stannard’s Latest Album Takes You To The River

John Cee Stannard’s Latest Album Takes You To The River

 

With a jig in your step, you embark on John Cee Stannard’s latest album that Takes You To The River. The flow of music is fresh, free-flowing with the sparkling sunshine and the fish leaping with Stannard’s exploration of country blues with the Blue Horizon.

Behind the glow of the music are darker messages that explore life and human frailties. With ten John Cee Stannard originals with the essence of blues the done the British way and two re-worked classics by Jelly Roll Morton, Winin’ Boy Blues and the eponymous House of The rising Sun given a complete makeover.  The Blue Horizon are the lynchpin to the Stannard sound, Mike Baker and Howard Birchmore providing guitar and harmonica layers of texture and tone building on the rhythms laid down by drummer Julian Brown & Andy Crowdy’s double bass, with special guests keeping the music varied and full of interest.

The music and vocals have a bright spring in their step as the album opening with Do It All Over Again.  Full of sharp melodies and a witty look at life how we just do it all over again as we try to get ahead despite bills and taxes! This is feet tapping music that has a wide appeal as the tempo rises in Separation-2 rag blues suiting the tribulations of coping with several girlfriends. He shares the problem again with tuneful humour as he rhymes the ditty with the women names he has chosen. Opening with delightful harp, we learn about Margery, Eleanor and the rest of the girls. The styles of blues/country incorporated are done with a gentle and deft touch so the shape is always British keeping the Stannard feel and approach.

The title track, Run To The River, flows with vocals filled out with the Farnham Community choir and guest vocalist Julia Titus. A high point of the album full of gospel power as we reach the half-way point with the first cover.  Winin’ Boy Blues, beautifully captured harnessing the music of country in the America of the 1930’s. Gospel and slide guitar form a winning combination on The Good Lord Didn’t Tell Me, slow full of mournful shading with Julia and the choir returning. Starting slow almost at a funeral pace John opens House of The Rising Sun, the guitar picks up the pace as the classic is reformed and the harmonica just rises the sun superb.  Blues is the theme, so a train song is often hidden in the track list. With Simon Mayor’s fiddle adding a sharp piquancy and the extra vocal power from Julia provide a positive train song we are going home. This is a get up and dance tune, Let The Train Whistle Blow. The closing track Nothing is What You get leaves us up-tempo with Simon Mayor’s fiddle adding a ragtime beat when combined with the piano of Matt Epson that makes a statement that adds to the tonal texture and shape.  The clever lyrics, slightly tongue in cheek from wordsmith John Cee Stannard shapes the album, influencing pace and approach on a happy album as John Cee Stannard’s Latest Album Takes You To The River

EIGHTpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. Do It All Over Again
  2. Separation – 2
  3. History
  4. Have Your Fun
  5. Run To The River
  6. Winin’ Boy Blues Jelly Roll Morton
  7. The Good Lord Didn’t Tell ME
  8. House Of The Rising Sun Traditional
  9. The Wretch
  10. Let The Train Whistle Blow
  11. Ain’t No Livin’ With The Blues
  12. Nothin’ Is What You Got

John Cee Stannard’s Latest Album Takes You To The River

It’s Christmas Time with John Cee Stannard

It’s Christmas Time with John Cee Stannard

It’s Christmas Time with John Cee Stannard

 

 

A Christmas EP with blues, lyrics and sweet guitar from Jason Manners who joins John Cee Stannard on this five track seasonal release. This all started back in 2014 when John wrote Christmas On My Own for a gig he was doing with his band Blues Horizon. The following year another seasonal number Winter Love.  Two tracks written and the idea of It’s Christmas Time seemed to be a perfect way of celebrating Christmas with Stannard’s music.

Five tracks, nothing syrupy sweet, no repeating choruses that stick as the most unwanted earworm. This is not lift musak it is five tracks that fit the season with a refreshing reality this is no over-sugared confectionary of songs that bare no resemblance to the Christmas most of us are experiencing.

The opening track and album title It’s Christmas Time is the only number written especially for the E.P. featuring the vocal delights of Julia Titus responding to John Cee’s vocals with the added bonus of harp from Howard Birchmore from Blues Horizon. This track shapes the EP Christmas music that rings in the changes.

Beggin’ Santa Claus was first recorded in  February 1937 and written by BK Turner and originally called Christmas Time Blues.  The guitars interplay adding a mournful sweet but sad underpinning to the blues driven lyrics.  Another re-working is Snooks Englinis. Let Me Go Home Whisky fitting into the mix perfectly from the 1950’s with its upbeat tempo.  Surprisingly, Christmas on My Own builds the up-tempo feel with an element of fun with Julia adding to the vocals.  There is a positivity on this number that next year will be better. Closing with a Winters Love has violin courtesy of Simon Mayor changing the tempo as Country meets crooner we are now ready for Christmas not perfect but a time of year for family and looking forward to a New Year and new beginnings with laid back blues that delivers a perfect reality.

EIGHT pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

John Cee Stannard – It’s Christmas Time

Track Listing

  1. It’s Christmas Time
  2. Beggin’ Santa Claus
  3. Let Me Go Home Whisky
  4. Christmas On My Own
  5. Winter Love

 

CD Review: John Cee Stannard & Blue Horizons – Stone Cold Sober

John CeeStone Cold Sober is an album that makes you smile with warmth and pleasure, melodic country infused blues where the lyrics tell a tale and the melodic interweaving of fiddle, harp and percussion join into the party feel. The album is full of wit and perspicacity as the trio that is the base of John Cee; Mike Baker & Howard Birchmore are joined by guest performers and the rhythm section that was so powerful on his last album Bus Depot Blues. The eleven self-pen tracks are full of originality and refuse to be cornered into a blues cul-de-sac as he weaves in influences from the Southern States roots scene the music is as fresh and clean as clothes blowing on a washing line under a deep blue sky. John Cee’s version of Blind Blake’s Lead Hearted Blues suits the album as rag-time style guitar was the signature style of Blind Blake. The humour throughout the album works as it is steeped in the real world the truth that shapes all our lives. the tone and shaping of the album has a feel of The Great Depression and dust bowl of the 1930’s but not mimicking the American experience this is British blues inspired by a period of history and reflecting the experience in the here and now.
Opening with I Don’t Want You Anymore, there is a hint of jazz and the harmonica playing from Howard Birchmore is sublime with the feet tapping and the smile is present you feel that you definitely want more of John Cee Stannard & Blue Horizon. Closing with This Rag Of Mine you are left with a party feel with Simon Mayor’s fiddling driving this rag tune along and singing “you need a little more action”; the answer is just play the album again you know you want to. There are many gems in between the opening and closing track The Story stands out with its narrative style, strong lyrics and a melody that flows with a harmonious mix of percussion and violin pulling you so you want to know all about the man the tale is shaped around, full of a downward spiral of gambling and drinking and a woman who wants him to change his way is a classic! Another track that shines is the harp intro and slower tempo of Worse Off Than You a song that has that element of hope again gambling a loss is interwoven into the narrative; “don’t sit there moaning when there is something you can do always someone worse off than you..” the track ends with a curl of the harp and what a great way of looking at life in general
The resonator guitar darkens the tone and tempo on Poverty Blues and this is a track that makes you sit up and listen as John Cee plays guitar and sings ‘did you hear my news’ a cry from the heart; as the reality of homelessness and how you are ignored and shunned a powerful song the double bass gives a backdrop shaping the music to fit the emotion behind every word sung.
The feeling of joie de vivre created throughout Stone Cold Sober does not mean simplistic and chorus heavy lyrics it is the exact opposite every emotion you would expect blues music to explore lost love, hurt, poverty, and so much more in the dozen uplifting, inspiring tracks. There is a change in tempo and influence throughout Stone Cold Sober making every track exciting whether listening for the first time or on the ‘will be oft repeated’ returns to listen to an album full of blue sparkling gems. If you love blues with feeling driven by the song and melodies that underpin the words but never dismal then Stone Cold Sober is the album for you.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD EIGHT pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

John Cee Stannard & Blue Horizon ~ Stone Cold Sober – Cast Iron Recordings

Track Listing CD

1. Don’t Want You Anymore
2. Don’t Worry None ‘Bout Me
3.The Story
4. Rum Ol’ Do
5. So Long
6. Lead Hearted Blues
7. Stone Cold Sober
8. Poverty Blues
9. Right Back at the Start
10. Worse Off Than You
11. Dream The Blues
12. This Rag Of Mine