Stoney & The House Rockers
BluesWax Rating: 8 out of 10
A Chemistry Lesson
Florida breeds blues bands like cats breed kittens. Showtime!!! is the third album from Stoney & The House Rockers. Leader Richard Stone honed his harp skills in the greater Boston area before migrating south some ten years ago. He is also the winner of the 2012 Florida Harmonica Championships. Stoney combines a Chicago style with the jazzier style of Toots Thielemans. The band competed in the 25th annual International Blues Competition in 2009 and is returning again in 2013, this time representing The Blues Alliance of The Treasure Coast.
The lineup of this band has changed, although Stoney on harp and vocals just gets better with age. Rounding out this blues and funk ensemble is guitarist Rick Fincke and bassist JT Burley, who can both be seen in another top-notch Florida band, The Usual Suspects. Mike Sinatra Dipaolo is the House Rockers’ drummer and he lays down a strong foundation. There is a definite chemistry while they are onstage.
For this project, Stoney has written nine new songs. Highlights include the infectious “Down On The Bayou,” with Ronnie Wahl on piano, and two jazzy tunes, “Mine All Mine” and the instrumental title track. “Love Song” features the sax of Steve Mazzi. “One Step At A Time” combines Stoney’s harp with a ska beat.
Covers include two from Otis Rush, “Keep Lovin’ Me Baby” and “Cut You Loose,” Bo Diddley’s “I Can Tell,” and the Mike Morgan and Lee McBee authored “Ain’t Like You Used To Be.” Stoney also reprises Magic Dick’s “Whammer Jammer.” And it’s appropriately credited to Juke Joint Jimmy, the fictional bluesman invented by the members of the J. Geils Band. Throughout the album the band members become background singers as they utilize a call and response which energizes both the band and the listener.
These guys get more enjoyable every time I hear them. Make sure you check them out.
Richard Ludmerer is a contributing editor at BluesWax.
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