Stewart Mann & Statesboro Revue – Ramble on Privilege Creek

Stewart Mann named his band after the classic blues song ‘Statesboro Blues’. The song was written by Blind Willie McTell and recorded by the Allman Brothers in 1971 for their hit album ‘Live at Fillmore East.’ Stewart has one of the best voices in the business and with a great band like Statesboro Revue backing him, it’s a winning combination. ‘Ramble on Privilege Creek’ is their latest studio effort and one Stewart produced himself. Its common practice for reviewers to say a bands new CD is their best. I hate to follow that trend but that’s the only way I know to describe the album. It captures all the elements that make this band one of the best in Texas. Those elements are Stewart’s amazing voice and the bands raw power onstage. They’ve been kicking ass and taking names for several years now, winning new fans at every show.

Things kick off with ‘Fade (My Shade of Black),’ a tune with that swampy classic rock sound that kept Creedence and the Stones a fixture on the radio back in the late 60’s. The acoustic feel gives way to a powerful rock chorus about a minute into the song. It’s the perfect album opener, if it doesn’t get your attention you need to check your pulse. They continue the swamp mode on ‘Huck Finn’ but this time keep it closer to the blues. Stewart’s vocals match the melody perfectly; the vocals and instruments become one. Pure magic on this track. They slow things down for ‘Cold November’, or at least they seem to until he hits the chorus and you realize you will follow this story for the duration. Trust me; it’s a journey you’re happy to take. The blues get a solid workout on ‘Til I Leave,’ complete with echo vocals and scorching slide guitars. This song would be right at home on a Buddy Guy album.

The Allman Brothers influence is truly felt on ‘Half A Mile to Lincoln,’ especially the vocals of Greg Allman. Think ‘Ramblin’ Man,’ only much better. Stewart and the boys drive this one home like a 16 penny nail. You can really hear the maturity in Stewart’s vocals and lyrics on ‘Live a Little.’ It has that cool gospel feel, much like the Band had on their classic tune ‘The Weight.’ For ‘Lil Mary’s Last Stand,’ the band tackles a country bluegrass sound that is very popular now with bands like Mumford & Sons or the Avett Brothers. They flex their muscles on ‘Isabella,’ covering a wide variety of instruments, matching Stewarts vocals step for step. By the ninth song, ‘Love Run Easy,’ I realize I haven’t said one single negative thing about this album. My credit as a critic is fading fast. Sorry, this song is just as brilliant as the others. Maybe I can pick the next song apart.

‘Another Day in Rome’ starts and I accept the fact that time is running out, I have about ten more minutes to find something wrong with this album. ‘Wildflower’ is another killer tune. Shit, this will probably be the last time I’m ever asked to review a new CD. OK, let’s think about this for a minute. Maybe I could criticize the title of the album, after all ‘Ramble on Privilege Creek’ doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily as Led Zeppelin 4. Since my copy is an advance CD with no lyrics, artwork or song titles, I can’t complain about crappy album art work. My copy came in a plain white sleeve, how cool is that. Kind of like the Beatles ‘White Album,’ where less is more. Stewart actually had to text me the song titles, because let’s face it, there’s no way in hell I could’ve figured out the title to ‘Lil Mary’s Last Stand.’

The CD ends with a blistering track called ‘Hands on the Sun’ that totally blows me away. The CD starts over and ‘Fade’ blasts out of the tiny speakers of my SpongeBob boom box. Try as I might, there’s simply not a damn thing I can find wrong with this album. I really tried, honestly I did. Wait, just as the song is starting to fade out, it ends abruptly. Bingo! That’s it, that’s the one thing I don’t like about this album. The first song stops short rather than fading out. Whew, for a minute there I was going to have to declare this album a true masterpiece, right up there with ‘Eat A Peach’ or ‘Blood on the Tracks’ but I’m saved. Maybe next time Stewart, maybe the next album will be the one.

All jokes aside, this CD is a perfect example of what happens when an amazing vocalist pairs himself with an incredible band. All the pieces fit and pure magic happens. Steve Earle once declared that there’s two types of music. Good music and bad music. This my friend, is damn good music. Now, can we talk about the album title one more time?

This entry was posted in CD Reviews. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.