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CD REVIEW -- Giles Corey's Stoned Soul
GLT blues radio


Delmark Records

Giles Corey CD art

by Geoff Trubow

Weight.  A number of meanings can be derived from a band whose moniker dates back to a man who was accused of witchcraft during the infamous 17th century trials in Salem, Massachusetts.  Yet weight seems to be the most appropriate term for the band with the same name.  Giles Corey was literally pressed to death by large boulders in an attempt to force him into entering a plea of witchcraft.  He refused, allegedly repeating, “More weight!”


Here in the 21st century, Giles Corey’s Stoned Soul has released its debut on Delmark Records, a label which prominently features blues artists that are more traditional.  This band is not traditional.  Their sound can be bluesy, but not exactly the blues.

Led by lead singer/guitarist and University of Chicago grad, Giles Corey (a.k.a. Andrew Osis), Stoned Soul is rounded out by keyboardist Marty Sammon, bassist Joewaun Scott and drummer Rick King – all delivering a diverse amount of music.  The mostly original songs were recorded over just three days last summer at Delmark’s Riverside Studio in Chicago and for the most part, pack a strong punch. Each of these stellar musicians have served time backing Chicago’s greatest blues artists, past and present including: Buddy Guy (Sammon), Otis Rush (Corey and Sammon), Billy Branch & Syl Johnson (Corey), Koko Taylor & James Cotton (King). The late Buddy Scott was Corey’s first employer while he was still in college. Joewaun is Buddy’s grandson and a member of the South Side’s first family of Blues and Soul, the Scotts.

“Oh, Mademoiselle” is a blues/funk hybrid as Corey and Sammon enter into a friendly duel with the former shredding the blues aspect and the latter bottoming out with some not so subtle funk.  The song, written by Corey who wrote all but two of the album's originals, sets the stage for a collection that could veer off into any number of directions.

One of the three covers on the 13 song record, “Don’t Let The Green Grass Fool You,” popularized by Wilson Pickett, begins with Corey establishing a slice of reggae.  The group then introduces a bit of lively gospel stomp with backup vocals by Diane Madison, Mae Koen and Nanette Frank.  The acclaimed vocal trio also lays down backups on the Sammon/King penned, “Right On!”. This time the band ventures into R & B, following Sammon’s lighthearted riffing keys and King’s down-and-out, but optimistic, lead vocals. Stoned Soul gives a jam band style workout to two other cover songs by Gary Clark, Jr. (“Bright Lights”) and Cedric Burnside (“That Girl Is Bad”).


The band does hit the blues nicely with the acoustic, “Time Flies (When You’re Drunk)”, with some perfectly placed mandola by Pat Otto.  This is roughly the same frame used for “It’s All Been Said Before”.  Again, Otto adds the mandola; and this song sums up the style of this album’s blues efforts.  It isn’t completely a blues tune, but it would have no problem fitting into a set of blues tunes.

Giles Corey’s Stoned Soul are a band one might not expect to be on the Delmark label.  It is somewhat akin to a Led Zeppelin fan checking out their third album for the first time, expecting nothing but bombastic explosions. The Stoned Soul album is a varied collection of styles, but the group succeeds as a blues band at heart which presents itself with range and soul.  And most importantly, with weight.   



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