Stan Webb

Webb

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The ex-Chicken Shack lead guitarist was still at it more than 30 years after his commercial peak, with this 2001 set representing his first studio album in some time. If Webb was American, it would be easy to imagine him getting picked up by a subsidiary of the Rounder label, such as Bullseye Blues or Blacktop. He's got that same skilled, bar-band blues-with-a-touch-of-rock vibe. He still plays well, but (as it happens, like many a Bullseye Blues and Blacktop artist), his vocals lag way behind his guitar skills. It's capably executed, moody urban blues for the most part, with some brass provided by the Third Coast Horns. This is a step ahead of many similar journeyman blues albums in that most of the material is original (written by Webb with second guitarist Fred James), and in that Webb's vocals, while not very powerful, are more affable than those of many such performers. Given Webb's vocal limitations, it's unsurprising that the best track is the instrumental "Misty Rivers," where his sliding, sustaining guitar work is at its most echoed and spooky. As for the most oddball selection, it's certainly the one cover, of the Beatles' "She Loves You," which is given such a radical mid-tempo bar-band rearrangement that casual listeners might not even recognize the song.

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