“The blues is such honest music,” says Black Stone Cherry singer Chris Robertson. “When you hear it, it’s like ‘I’m down on my luck, and, damn, that guy gets just how I feel.‘”
With an attitude like that, it’s perhaps not surprising that the Atlanta Rockers have released an EP of blues covers, some of them songs the band has been playing live for over a decade. Black To Blues is out now.
“I hope by sharing this music we have the beautiful opportunity to expose a new generation to the blues,” says Robertson. “Our approach was to do these songs as if we’d written them, with attitude and heavy guitar.”
Below, Black Stone Cherry guitarist Ben Wells takes through the EP, track-by-track.
1. Built For Comfort
This song was the initial song that got this whole thing going I think. We had been doing this song in our live set for at least a couple years and we constantly got asked if it was our own song, and if we had a recorded version of it. For us, playing it live was a way for us to showcase the blues side of the band and really allow us to spread our wings and show our roots. We didn’t know how well it would go over at each show, but it quickly became the highlight each night. So we decided the EP needed to happen, and this song was a shoe in! Plus, it’s Howlin Wolf… you cant go wrong with the Wolf!
2. Champagne and Reefer
If you dig the blues, you have to dig Muddy Waters. John Fred actually brought this song to the table and of course we jumped at it! It’s a clever song with a killer vibe. Like any song we cover, we put our spin on it and I think it came our killer!
3. Palace Of The King
Love some Freddie King! We compare Chris a lot to Freddie King because they both have those bellowing loud voices that really get your attention. Freddie King had a certain spank, if you will, to his guitar playing too. The man could burn up a 345! This is one of the first blues covers we put into our live set, way back in 2003-ish! So again, when the EP came up, we knew we wanted to put our version on there! It stomps! Love the horns and vocals on this one!
4. Hoochie Coochie Man
Another classic. A blues staple. We started doing this song live in 2005. Again, people loved it. Thinking back, it’s really cool how many blues songs we did at such a young age! I love this track on the EP! Very low down and probably my favourite performance from the horn players. They totally nailed it! It’s like blues meets New Orleans brass! Love it!
- The Blues Collection – the best of The Blues Magazine is onsale now!
- The 5 Best Albert King Songs, by Black Stone Cherry's Jon Lawhon
- The 5 Best Howlin' Wolf Songs, by Black Stone Cherry's Ben Wells
- An evening with Black Stone Cherry - live review
5. Born Under A Bad Sign
I remember saying we HAD to do this song! The guys of course were on board. The riff already sounded like something we would write for one of our own songs, so in my mind I knew we could totally rock this song This is another blues staple! I hope Albert King would be proud! I even played my Flying V to conjure up his mojo in studio!
6. I Want To Be Loved
Another Muddy Waters classic! When Chris brought this song up and played it, everyone just kinda came to life. You can’t help but smile and feel good when you hear it. It’s a quirky fun song and on one of Muddy’s incredible albums Hard Again Love the piano in this, too!