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Cash Box Kings - I-94

15 Tracks

The Cash Box Kings core is Joe Nosek on harmonica and vocals, Chris Boeger on electric and upright bass, and Kenny Smith on drums. Steve Freund, Joel Patterson, Billy Flynn on guitars, Oscar Wilson guest vocalist, Mark Haines on percussion, Jimmy Sutton on upright bass and vocals, and Barrelhouse Chuck on piano round out the group. Billy Flynn also handles banjo and mandolin duties.

The Cash Box Kings are Chicago royalty. Each member brings years of performance experience even though most are young in relative terms of blues musicians. Most are also sought after studio musicians and some, like Billy Flynn and Barrelhouse Chuck, have released their own CDs. Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith is a Blues Music Awards nominee. In 2009 he was beat out, no pun intended, by his dad, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith.


The Cash Box Kings latest CD, I-94, could easily be named Boogies and Barrelhouse Blues. This CD is full of old timey, good fun blues. I-94 is a mixture of originals written by members of the band, notably Joe Nosek, and covers of Muddy Waters, the original Sonny Boy Williamson, and Blind Willie McTell with a Jim Croce thrown in for good measure. The hardcore blues tunes are the Muddy Waters songs and “Tried So Hard” by Billy Flynn.

The CD is not nostalgia as the style of most of the songs predates the births of the band members. It is more of a tribute to the past with modern sensibilities. The CD could easily be a soundtrack to a new movie about a past era.

Reviewer Sheralyn Graise graduated from the University of Akron a while back. A former Social Services professional, she is now pursuing other interests such as music history, writing, and photography. She has been a member of the Blues Foundation since 2001.

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