C W Stoneking - Jungle Blues"CW Stoneking has not so much emerged from a time machine than exist in
his own bubble of early 20th century blues, jazz and hobo clatter. I
have seen him in the flesh and he is sepia-toned. He's thirty-four
going on eighty-four and on Jungle Blues he takes a stride deeper into the bayou he approached on his startling debut King Hokum.
While he is Australian, his story checks out. Jungle Blues echoes his experiences in Trinidad, West Africa and New Orleans, as much the soundtrack to Steamboat Willie
and the steam rising off the mosquito-infested swamps. It's
intoxicating hearing this man with the voice of a weary tramp and a
backing band of voodoo marionettes working their black magic.
can be a tricky thing, and attempts to replicate a bygone era can
quickly slip into cliché and pastiche. Bluesmen are nothing without a
verifiable history of the doggone, no-hope, down and out blues. I don't
want to know how he does it, I just know that listening to the sinister
calypso of 'Hell' sound-alike 'Love Me Or Die', the carnivale jazz of
the title track and the grainy samba of 'Brave Son Of America' doesn't
just suspend your belief, it seats you front and centre in his
Jungle Blues is the genuine throwback (waaay back) album for dilettantes that the experts can't fault.