Magazine article The Spectator

Tales from Afar

Magazine article The Spectator

Tales from Afar

Article excerpt

If you heard Australian bluesman C.W. Stoneking's first album, King Hokum, then you will know what to expect from his second: Jungle Blues. If you didn't, then let me point out that Stoneking is a prize mimic. With a banjo in his hands, and the wail of a Howlin' Wolf or Robert Johnson in his throat, this 36-year-old (white) man (raised by American parents in an Aboriginal community) sets about recreating every lurch and inflection of 1920s blues and calypso music. The horns swoon, the drums shuffle - and you'd swear you can hear the crackle of old vinyl, dusty between its grooves.

It might be easy to dismiss this as pastiche were it not for the charm of Stoneking's compositions. This is a storyteller at work, indulging his audience with malarial tales of Africa, the South Seas and other places more imagined than experienced. …

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