JOHN CEE STANNARD – Moving On (Cast Iron CIRCD 030)

Moving OnJohn Cee Stannard’s new album, Moving On, was conceived as a successor to his recently relaunched debut – see link below. It’s another big band album featuring, among others, Spencer Couzens, Matt Winch, Nick Pentelow, Richard Cox-Smith and Paul Hutchinson together with his regular sidesmen Mike Baker and Howard Birchmore.

If you didn’t already know that John comes from Reading, Berkshire in the UK and the opener, ‘Cemetery Junction’ should be enough to remind you. It’s a monster of a track, laden with brass and what it lacks in subtlety it makes up for in energy. The next two tracks are, relatively speaking, a bit more laid-back. ‘Price Of Your Sin’ is led by Craig Broadfoot’s keyboards – he is a constant presence – and features a stunning solo by Couzens. ‘Someone Is Knocking’ is the first of two non-original songs. It’s written by Julia Titus who sings backing vocals here and spends much of her time channelling Bessie Smith.

‘Evenin’ Sun’ leans rather more towards rock’n’roll and ‘Call Of Duty’ follows the same path with undertones of Ronnie Lane tackling Chuck Berry. It’s a definite high point of the record. ‘Someone Told Me’ starts off slowly, again speaking relatively, but doesn’t stay that way and ‘Seventeen’ is about a bus route and not at all what you thought. Val Cowell’s backing vocals on this track are stunning.

The other non-original song is Jimmy Witherspoon’s ‘Tougher Than Tough’ and the closer is the guitar-driven ‘You Took Me By Surprise’ – Cox-Smith playing slide and Hutchinson on accordion. It’s a bit of a departure after the big brass of the other songs but it’s also a great finisher.

John has stayed true to his love of the blues with Moving On but, as always, he’s direct and honest and to be truthful he’s not moving on too far.

Dai Jeffries

Artist’s website:

‘Call Of Duty’ – official video:

Read Dai Jeffries’ review of The “Doob Doo” Album here:

JOHN CEE STANNARD – The “Doob Doo” Album (Cast Iron CIRCD 022)

The "Doop Doo" AlbumThe “Doob Doo” Album is John Cee Stannard’s first solo work but not many people know that. In fact, I didn’t know that until John explained it to me. It was released in 2013 and boasts a lavish package – triple-fold digipak with a booklet that really makes a statement. It includes some distinguished musicians: Richard Hudson drums, Nick Pentelow plays saxes and clarinet, former Pentangler Nigel Portman-Smith plays bass and composer and arranger Matt Winch features on trumpet. You can look up his credentials for yourselves.

Sadly, it wasn’t widely circulated at the time and you just couldn’t tour seventeen musicians in support of your first album – but this isn’t a reissue, John calls it a re-launch. The reason for getting it out there now is the release of John’s fifth album, Moving On, which was conceived as a follow-up to Doob Doo. I hope that’s clear. The “Doob Doo” Album started out as straightforward blues album but with the musicians that gathered round it grew and mutated. If you want a soundtrack for a forties-noir movie set in the twilight world of smoky clubs and dodgy deals this is a good place to start.

There are two vintage blues tracks among the originals. The first is Fulton Allen’s ‘Lost Lover Blues’ which contains a number of floating lines about freight trains and morphine and the second is Patrick Sky’s jaunty ‘Separation Blues’ to which John has added a chorus. The set opens with ‘Better Days’, which is more a big band number than a blues, but the blues slowly take over, even when as with the title track, ‘Doob Doo Be Doo Wah’, there is a lacing of humour.

Call it blues, call it jazz, call it anything you wish – this is a fun record that deserves its belated moment in the sun.

Dai Jeffries

Artist’s website:

‘Lost Lover Blues’ – official video (more or less contemporaneous with the record):