13 Songs, 46 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though a blindfold test might make you guess that Black Toppin' came out of mid-20th-century Chicago, you'd have only the city correct. While The Cash Box Kings are deeply rooted in the blues legacy of the Windy City, they're very much a 21st-century phenomenon. Drummer Kenny Smith learned a lot of what he knows from his father (Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, famed for backing Muddy Waters), while the band's elder statesman, singer Oscar Wilson, has the hulking stage presence of vintage Howlin' Wolf. Though The Cash Box Kings breathe new life into the Willie Dixon–penned, Little Water–popularized shuffle "Too Late" and the blues standard "Walkin' Blues," the bulk of Black Toppin' features original tunes that prove there's still a place for the classic Chicago sound in modern repertoire. And when the Kings close out the album with a bluesy take on The Velvet Underground's rocking "Run Run Run," they show they're working with a vision of the blues that's entirely their own.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though a blindfold test might make you guess that Black Toppin' came out of mid-20th-century Chicago, you'd have only the city correct. While The Cash Box Kings are deeply rooted in the blues legacy of the Windy City, they're very much a 21st-century phenomenon. Drummer Kenny Smith learned a lot of what he knows from his father (Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, famed for backing Muddy Waters), while the band's elder statesman, singer Oscar Wilson, has the hulking stage presence of vintage Howlin' Wolf. Though The Cash Box Kings breathe new life into the Willie Dixon–penned, Little Water–popularized shuffle "Too Late" and the blues standard "Walkin' Blues," the bulk of Black Toppin' features original tunes that prove there's still a place for the classic Chicago sound in modern repertoire. And when the Kings close out the album with a bluesy take on The Velvet Underground's rocking "Run Run Run," they show they're working with a vision of the blues that's entirely their own.

TITLE TIME
3:48
3:47
3:01
2:32
3:36
4:06
3:27
5:07
3:36
3:30
3:34
3:09
3:42

About The Cash Box Kings

Cash Box Kings keep the classic juke-joint jump of post-war electric blues alive in the 21st century, not just by reviving the over-saturated sound of Chess and Sun Records, but by writing new songs that address contemporary concerns. Bringing the blues into the 21st century was the intention of Joe Nosek, who formed the band while he was teaching at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2001. The band found its stride with the addition of Chicago blues singer Oscar Wilson in 2007, and from that point forward, the pair led Cash Box Kings through a series of lineup changes showcased on albums released by Blind Pig Records and Alligator Records.

Nosek formed his first lineup of Cash Box Kings in Madison, Wisconsin in 2001, just after he earned a degree from the University of Wisconsin and began teaching English as a Second Language at the institution. Taking his band's name from an old industry publication and its aesthetic from the classic Delta and electric blues he loved as a teenager, he played guitar, harmonica, and sang with the group. Cash Box Kings released three albums on Blue Midnight Records -- Live! At the King Club (2002), Black Night Fallin' (2005), and The Royal Treatment (2006) -- but the group's fortunes changed when Nosek brought Chicago-based singer Oscar Wilson on as his partner in 2007.

Cash Box Kings released I-94 Blues on Blue Bella in 2010, and that record brought them to the attention of Blind Pig, which released Holler and Stomp in 2011. Two more records for Blind Pig followed -- Black Toppin' in 2013 and Holding Court in 2015 -- with the band's lineup gradually settling upon Nosek, Wilson, guitarists Joel Paterson and Billy Flynn, drummers Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith and Mark Haines, bassist Brad Ber and pianist Lee Kanehira. This is the version of Cash Box Kings that signed with Alligator for 2017's Royal Mint. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Songs

Albums

Listeners Also Played