Album Review of
Royal Mint

Written by Mark Gallo
June 12, 2017 - 12:00am EDT
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Opening with a hand clapping take on House Party, a 1952 Amos Milburn tune, Chicago’s Cash Box Kings set the tone for a rousing baker’s dozen of classic blues, swing and even a rockabilly number. Formed in 2001, they’ve had eight releases prior to this, though this may be their best to date. Steeped in the classic Chicago tradition, meaning heavy on the Muddy inspiration, this is destined to win a handful of awards before the year is over. Lead vocals are split between Oscar Wilson and producer and first-rate harmonica player Joe Nosek, and the band is rounded out by guitarists Billy Flynn or Joel Paterson, drummers Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith or Mark Haines and bassist Brad Ber. Build That Wall is a sarcastic tongue-in-cheek swinging look at the social and racial strata that makes up our country with lines like, “I can tell by your last name this country means more to me than it does to you.” The rockabilly blues reminds of the Paladins. Following their take on Traveling Riverside Blues comes the original Nosek-penned humorous shuffle, If You Got a Jealous Woman Facebook Ain’t Your Friend, on which Wilson complains that he can’t help it if women are attracted to him. This is an album rife with highlights. The shuffle on Jimmy Reed’s I’m Gonna Get My Baby with blistering harp and a call and response to Wilson’s hearty vocals. Muddy Water’s Flood, with an opening guitar intro that channels Muddy along with Wilson’s equally haunting channeling of Water’s vocals and Nosek’s dead on James Cotton approximations. The Mel London-penned Sugar Sweet, another song that Muddy made his own and on which newest member pianist Lee Kanehira shines. On Junior Wells’ I’m A Stranger, the shadow of Muddy Waters again comes out more than that of Wells.  The 13 songs that comprise this instant classic are all loads of fun and the band has chops to spare. Recommended songs: Build That Wall and If You Got a Jealous Woman Facebook Ain’t Your Friend, but you can’t go wrong with anything here.