Blues Bytes


October/November 2016

Si Cranstoun
Old School
Ruf Records

Si Cranstoun

British soul man Si Cranstoun spent years on the streets of London as a busker and later formed the Ska band The Dualers with his brother, Tyber. Cranstoun’s dad promoted Jamaican music in the ’60s, so he grew up listening to Ska and reggae music, but his first love was ’50s and ’60s rock n’ roll and R&B. After a successful run with the Dualers, releasing several albums and Top 40 singles, Cranstoun left the group and launched his own band specializing in the rock and R&B styles, which has rapidly built a big following in the U.K., leading Cranstoun to be recognized as “the king of vintage.”

Cranstoun’s latest release, the apppropriately-titled Old School (Ruf Records), will be musical nirvana for any music fan who digs the music of the early pioneers of rock and soul --- Elvis, Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke, etc, With a whopping 16 tunes, all but two originals, the album should be a wonderful treat for fans of those artists and genres. For those fans, it will be impossible to listen without getting a hop in your step.

This CD is a blast from start to finish. The emphasis is on upbeat, good time tunes like the rocking title track, “Jukebox Jump,” the horn-fueled “Vegas Baby, “A Christmas Twist” (maybe one of the best recent Christmas songs I’ve heard in a while), the irresistible “Skinny Jeans” and “Commoner to King.” However, Cranstoun really shines vocally on some of the slower-paced tunes such as the soulful “Nighttime,” “Run Free,” one of several tracks where he really has a Sam Cooke quality to his voice, and on the Latin-flavored “Elise the Brazilian.”

The two covers are keepers, too. Billy Swan’s “Lover Please” gets a cool calypso reworking, and the Louis Jordan tune “Big Bess” is guaranteed to get listeners on their feet and moving before it’s done.

As great as Cranstoun does on these tunes, it would be a shame to not mention the excellent band backing him --- Mex Clough – drums, Stewart Panaman – bass, Dan Faulkner and Drew Davies – saxes, Jon Radford – trumpet, Patrick Hayes – trombone, Neil Casey and Paddy Milner – piano, and Simon Picton and Jay Gipson – guitar. These guys obviously love this music; it shows with every note played and sung.

For those whose day needs a pick-me-up, I strongly recommend Old School. Listening to this CD will turn a bad day into a good one and a good day into a better one.

--- Graham Clarke
Read Graham's blog



[Pick Hit][What's New][Surprise][Flashback][Feedback][Back Issues][Home Page]


The Blues Bytes URL... 
Revised: November 16, 2016 - Version 1.00
All contents Copyright © 2016, Blue Night Productions. All rights reserved.