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R. B. Stone - Lonesome Traveler's Blues

Middle Mountain Records

R. B. Stone's more of a singer-songwriter than he is a bluesman, but this effort is made successful by a truly solid backing band, with excellent electric lead, slide, and National Steel guitar work.

The songs range from solid and tight to clichéd, with the balance to the "solid" side. The best are the lead-off tune, "Mississippi Woman" and "Man With A Minivan". The former is an ode to a hot mama, with strong vocals and harp and an excellent backing band, while the latter is witty, funny and makes much of not having the sexiest car in town. Equally good: the "Devil's Satisfied", chronicling the several ways down.

The weaker ones are "Fair Weather Friends" and the "Find Yourself A Fool", where the singer's lack of vocal strength and control show that a better singer could make far more of the tunes.

The guitar playing is top-notch throughout, but the harp-playing ranges from only competent to uninspired.

Stone's a damned good songwriter, and the backing band's superb. Get an equally strong singer and harp-player, and this stuff could well make the charts.

Reviewer Gene Rankin is a retired lawyer, a blue-water sailor, and a blues musician and enthusiast for over 50 years.

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