“Cuttin Heads at the Cuda Café”
There’s nothing like being in on a great secret. You hold in your head and heart something few are privy to and if it’s cool, so are you. The Cash Box Kings understand that.
They play music not heard much these days and rarely seen live, as it was intended, but with this recording you’re in a seat at the front of their stage.
From the opening of the swinging “Honey Bee” to the “I’ll fight you out back” grit of “Goin Down to Eli’s” they roll through a set of blues music here that reverentially nods to the masters of Chicago and Mississippi, yet has the stamp of a veteran band that’s not interested in simply replicating classic records note for note. Nor is “Cuttin Heads at the Cuda Café” some work of studio chicanery; this is what the Cash Box Kings sound like when they get together and give it the beans.
Pick up on how Joe Nosek channels Lazy Lester, listen to Oscar “43rd-Street” Wilson revisits fish fries where he heard Muddy Waters, and let the groove of Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith and Chris Boeger get your foot stomping. Travis Koopman is the one who will fight you out back and his guitar playing suggests it could involve a very sharp knife.
It’s probably bittersweet for these guys to be playing what sadly has assumed almost secretive status but with this record they’re putting it out there for anyone who will lend an ear. For those of you that are already in the know, go grab a drink and enjoy.
If you’re hearing this stuff for the first time though, then by all means welcome to the club, friend.
Chris Pauls June, 2009
Chris Pauls is a writer for The Onion and co-author "The Dangerous Book for Dogs" and "The New Vampire's Handbook"
This recording offers a snapshot of what a typical Cash Box Kings’ live show sounded like over the past few years. We set up some mics and pressed record one very cold February evening two years back. (As I recall it was about 20 below zero.) This is a truly “live” recording. There are no overdubs or studio tricks here; this is how the audience heard us play that night.
This CD also serves as an introduction for the newest member of the Cash Box Kings, Oscar Wilson. Oscar grew up on the Southside of Chicago and has been immersed in the blues since he was a child—he made his musical debut at age 11 singing at a house party with his neighbor, the legendary Dave "Honey Boy" Edwards. Although, Oscar has been singing and playing guitar, piano, drums and harmonica throughout his life, he was still very new to the professional stage when we rolled the tape the night of this recording. It has been a real pleasure to watch Oscar come into his own as a working musician and listen to the increased confidence and command that now characterizes his performances. I can guarantee that you’ll be hearing a lot more of him in the future. (In fact, we’re preparing a new studio recording with Oscar that will come out in the spring of 2010.)
We had a blast making this recording and playing blues music for the last 8 years. We want to thank all of our friends both in America and abroad for all of the support they have given us during this time. We look forward to making a lot more blues music for a real long time to come.
With sincere gratitude,