The Great Lost CC Bluesking Album, actually the 2nd Great Lost CC Bluesking Album, has recently been found and with the wonders of modern technology digitalized and cleaned up. Though there were hundreds of songs recorded by CC Bluesking and the various members and spin-off bands, few remain. Rick Rock and the Flounders and Matt and Rick's For Your Benefit are slated for release in the near future but unfortunately the vast majority of the music of CC Bluesking is probably lost forever. Few would call the Great Lost CC Bluesking Album their best material unless they were talking about the first Great Lost CC Bluesking Album which is still lost. This is the second and its greatness perhaps lies in the fact that it has been found. Had another CC Bluesking album been found then that would have been the Great Lost CC Bluesking album and then there might have been three of them which would be easily marketable as Great, Greater and Greatest. But for now this is all we have of this band that changed the lives of so many in that short time so many years ago in a land far away and to put it simply it is Great just because it exists.
The Great Lost CCBluesking Album: Recorded in 1970 in Athens, Greece
Warmup: Though it is hard to call any CCBluesKing song a signature opening song, this little instrumental served the purpose of getting the band in sync with each other as each member gradually masters the descending chord sequence which is quite reminiscent of some of the early Bach pieces and even Pachobel's Canon. The ethereal sound of Chuck the Rat's sax which seems to hover over the song is really something that was not even attempted by other bands until the early nineties. Though the band did not often revert to their classical training, at times it did come in handy.
Sweet Soul of Billy: This song was the follow up single to Ballad of Billy which was the band's first big hit. It is a sexually ambiguous song which is the marvel of the lyrics because you never really know whether Billy is a boy, or CC's ...ummmmmm... weiner. But that was the genius of CC's songwriting. You were never quite sure what he was
talking about and you didn't want to ask and appear stupid.
People forget what a talented guitar player Matt was but this solo should make them remember. The slow gentle rhythm gives way
to the rocking ending of Make Me Your God, a real crowd pleaser. Fans often discussed the sexuality of the band claiming that their lyrics suggest a slight tinge of homo or bisexuality. For example:
But what must be remembered is that this was a period when boys were in love with their hair and to want to sleep with Mick Jagger was not considered gay but a rite of passage. As for the sexuality of the band they were all avowed heterosexuals who took a healthy pride in their conquests. Homosexuality within the band was considered 'unprofessional' and sexual acts between members were rare, even in times of desperation.
But CC puts all this homosexual talk to rest in his powerful yet sensitive lyrics to Make Me Your God:
"Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh Girl Save me!
Karpoozi: This song features the vocals of George the Mouse and the Sax playing of Chuck the Rat and is an exploration of an American Indian rhythm that evolves into a heavy metal Black Sabbath like finale. Karpoozi means watermelon in Greek and the band often used their multi lingual talents to get across ideas that the heavy censorship in those days might frown upon. As many in the Greek drug community knew a karpoozi was a hash pipe that was made from a watermelon. During the dictatorship young people could be stopped on the street and searched and the small home-made hash pipes could get you as much as 10 years in prison. But the young people walking around Athens carrying watermelons were above suspicion, at least until the practice got out of control and possession of watermelons became an invitation for a strip search. But by then most of the serious users had graduated to the chicken-pipes to avoid detection. Equally ingenious these pipes were whole chickens from the market, the hashish was placed in the beak which was heated with a blow-torch until white hot and the smoke sucked through the chicken and out the anus, giving it a soothing Campbell's Chicken Soup flavor which was popular with the Greek-Americans. But back to the song. Amazing slide by Matt. Keep in mind that this is long before Duane Allman made it fashionable to play slide guitar in a rock band.
Last Time I was in the City: CC was always concerned that people thought of him as just another pretty boy lead singer but his guitar solo in this song proves that he was much more than that and had he chosen to express himself through that instrument he would have been perhaps as successful as BB King himself. As BB had his guitar 'Lucille', CC had his guitar named 'Rhunt' though recordings featuring the instrument are rare indeed. As usual the band extends the limits of the traditional blues by adding a drum solo by George the mouse. It is a little known fact that George was a member of the pep band in his previous highschool in the south side of Chicago. It was CC Bluesking's habit of retreating to the safety of the 12-Bar Blues that made them able to take their other music to the outer edge of acceptability and still garner the respect of the purists if only because they had the world blues in the name of the band.
Gotta Find a Woman: CC puts all the questions about his sexuality to rest with this robust swaggering ballad where he ponder's the question of whether true love can be found were you are, or do you have to go to the city. At eight minutes and counting this is the band's longest song which may be the reason that their label at the time, Dickface Records, refused to put it out as a single unless the band clipped off about six minutes which of course they refused to do. It is their steadfastness that now enables you to listen to the entire song. She Walks the Street is the tail end of Gotta Find a Woman, sort of a bridge to nowhere and features the harmonies of the Christ brothers.
Won't You come Over is actually a continuation of She Walks the Streets and again shows the bands diversity with multiple harmonies as CC, Peter and Rick create a rich texture of layered vocals. Keep in mind that this is one track. There were no overdubs whatsoever which makes the song even more impressive. Bands like Yes and even the Beach Boys had to overdub their harmonies endlessly to get it right. For CC Blues King it just came naturally.
Country Shit: This may have been the first country song every recorded in Greece. Despite there being no southerners in the band you can hear that they have a complete grasp of the music. It would be several years until bands like Poco and the Eagles made country music acceptable to people who had grown weary of good music, but CC Blues King didn't play music for the sake of being good and they didn't play country music because it was or wasn't cool. They did not even like country music. But they knew that country music is really just the blues speeded up and played by dumb white guys in cowboy hats. Great vocals by George the mouse who 'sings the dawg outta this one'. Rick plays drums. Though the band did go through its 'cowboy period' most notably in the Beau Grant recordings (also lost) these were more in reference to the film Midnight Cowboy than they were to riding horses and sitting around campfires eating beans out of a can.
Dusty Streets: A rare recording from the Matt's bedroom version of CC Bluesking. Matt on guitar, CC singing and PC showing his musical abilities on the melodica, a small piano that fits in your mouth. It was the band's ability to experiment with different instruments and styles that made them able to incorporate many other genres and attract a larger following. It was PC's ability to master just about any instrument instantly that expanded the dimensions of the band though at the time critics accused them of being a little too experimental, for example PCs Concerto for Feedback and African Tribbit which though popular with the fans was dismissed by critics as being "a bunch of noise and banging". Still the band never took criticism too seriously and PC's next work The Balloon Symphony, was predominantly a solo effort with PC playing all the music himself. To this day it is the only known classical piece played entirely on balloons. Sadly all copies of this have been destroyed in a tragic fire in Matt's locker.
Whiskey Blues is a traditional blues number and may in fact be the shortest blues song on record at just 39 seconds.
Sittin in a Graveyard has the band rocking again in what must be described as the most perfectly crafted pop-rock song in the CCBK arsenal. This was to be the band's follow up single to Gotta Find a Woman if only Dickface had agreed to put out the first record. But they didn't and that is why you are now listening to and reading about CC Blues King while Dickface Records has been relegated to the dustbin of musical history. A sample of the lyrics of this song illustrates the simple formula that made their music so powerful:
"Went to town about 5 O'clock
Goodtime Commin' is one of Chris's stop and go songs as he called them. The song contains some of his best American style romantic lyrics:
Playin in a Band/Cmon Over with Me is a medley that starts off with a Ballad of Billy style chord progression and then sort of falls apart only to emerge as the rocking Cmon Over with Me, the high point of any CC Blues King show (except for the drugs and the chicks). Though people have commented that Free may have ripped off a few of these riffs for their mega hit All Right Now, the bands were actually never closer than 1500 miles from each other so it may only be a coincidence. Maybe. This song contains Dorian Kokas favorite line of a CC Bluesking song that he claimed gives him chills when he hears it. The line is "No shit yeah cmon". Gives me chills just writing it.
Time to Say Goodbye: Though the entire song was not able to be salvaged one can still get a sense of the sadness the band felt when they knew that this was probably their last recording and the last that would be heard of CC Bluesking for the next 35 years.