Chicken Shack - The Complete Blue Horizon Sessions

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Chicken Shack - The Complete Blue Horizon Sessions

Postby blueswriter » Mon Jul 16, 2007 6:07 pm

Chicken Shack
The Complete Blue Horizon Sessions
Blue Horizon (2007) 90009


56 tracks, 3 CDs, 194 minutes. Excellent. This is another one of those 'excellent with reservations' reviews. There's little question that Chicken Shack has had a long and storied history in the annals of British Blues and it's doubtful anyone could question Stan Webb's accomplishments as a guitarist. But if this outfit never garnered the respect many think it deserved, that lack of recognition could stem from the fact that Webb's blistering guitar efforts have always been overshadowed by his disturbing desire to be a vocalist. Some singers seem to have God-given abilities while others develop over time, but in Webb's case, he never should have been allowed to step up to a microphone. Producer Mike Vernon's liner notes mention his vocals as being "a bit on the histrionic side" but Vernon also figured that was a minor kink that could be worked out. It wasn't. On the plus side this set includes over three hours of solid blues, sizzling guitar and an early look at Christine Perfect, who went on to fame and fortune as Christine McVie, an extremely talented contributor and longtime member of Fleetwood Mac. Webb's fiery guitar work shows the influence of Freddy and B.B. King on San-Ho-Zay, Lonesome Whistle Blues, Sweet Sixteen, The Letter and Remington Ride, and the previously unreleased version of Hideaway on disc three is superb. Buddy Guy's strong impression on Webb displays itself on When My Left Eye Jumps, First Time I Met The Blues and Stan's fine Worried About My Woman. It's just a shame he had to sing. Christine Perfect's vocals add much-needed relief and she proved herself well in her young years with When The Train Comes Back, I'd Rather Go Blind, Mean Old World (with Walter Horton's harp) and It's Okay With Me Baby. As a band, Chicken Shack went through numerous changes in personnel, but its one unifying characteristic was the blazing guitar Webb provided, whether the rapidly-clustered phrases that still defy accurate description, or the beautifully mournful solos he constructed. A 24-page booklet with Mike Vernon's detailed notes includes full session information and vintage pictures plus there are a handful of previously unavailable tracks as well as single versions of When The Train Comes Back and Maudie. Based on the music, the arrangements and instrumentation, this receives high honors indeed. If it weren't for the distracting vocal efforts Webb added to the mix, it would come highly recommended.

Blue Horizon Records

© 2007 by Craig Ruskey
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Re: Chicken Shack - The Complete Blue Horizon Sessions

Postby Justin Case » Sat Dec 25, 2010 10:34 pm

I as well am very glad I bought this set a little over a year ago. It is too rare an event that I am able to add that much vintage Brit Blues of which I am basically unfamiliar. I had picked up one of the six orginal albums in this set at a flea market sooo long ago, but I'm not sure it ever even hit my turntable. I had very little listening time invested in Miss Perfect since she essentially replaced Peter Green in Fleetwood Mac, removing the joy that band had given me previously. I had also forgotten that her Shack keyboard replacement Paul Raymond along with drummer Dave Bidwell and bassist Andy Silvester, who as an ensemble formed possibly my favorite iteration of Savoy Brown (along with guitarist Kim Simmonds and lead vocalist Dave Walker), had their beginning in Chicken Shack. Even Webb was to later show up in Savoy Brown. Not so much filling a hole in my collection as expandingg it, this purchase took a little of the "staleness" out of my ample Brit Blues library wing.

On a quick personal note, what are the odds that I would give a cab ride to a British keyboard player I had long admired (Raymond) one morning here in San Jose, California? Yep, probably ten or fifteen years ago.
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