The Cash Box Kings

Hail To The Kings!
Alligator Records

By Greg Johnson

Over the course of two decades, The Cash Box Kings have consistently shown that they’re one of the premier Chicago-based blues bands. Craftily blending social issues with humor, they produce music rivaling the classic recordings of the 1950s-60s from labels like Chess and Cobra. With a title like Hail To The Kings, one may believe that they’re referencing themselves, but really they are paying respect and praise for artists like Otis Rush, Eddy Clearwater, Jody Williams, along with other legends who’ve recently passed on. The band’s sound is obviously directly influenced by these masters, and they carry on their blues traditions expertly.

Harmonica player Joe Nosek and singer Oscar Wilson front the band with an abundance of talent and showmanship. Billy Flynn delivers always on the spot guitar playing, Lee Kanehira on keys, and Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith and John Lauler laying down some of Chicago’s best rhythm sections.

Shemekia Copeland guests stars with Wilson on the humorous “The Wine Talkin’.” “The Wrong Number” continues in that same vein. ”Jon Burge Blues” tells the true story of a corrupt police chief who reigned. But whether serious or light-hearted, this is a band who shakes the scene with some of the tightest and finest blues today.

Total Time: 50:43

Ain’t No Fun (When The Rabbit Got The Gun) / The Wine Talkin’ / Take Anything I Can / Smoked Jowl Blues / Back Off / I’m The Man Down There / Poison In My Whiskey / Joe, You Ain’t From Chicago / Bluesman Next Door / Hunchin’ On My Baby / Jon Burge Blues / Sugar Daddy / The Wrong Number