Having written ‘Christmas On My Own’ for a booking in December 2013, and ‘Winter Love’ shortly after, it seemed natural that they should be the basis for a Christmas EP. The rhythm sections for those two tracks were recorded during the STONE COLD SOBER sessions. I decided to produce a 5-track EP for Christmas 2016, and when I found ‘Beggin’ Santa Clause’ on a Christmas Blues compilation album, I thought it was a great song to include. I already liked the song ‘Let Me Go Home Whisky’ by Shift Henry, having first heard it recorded by Snooks Englin, and I liked the idea of re-writing the lyric to make it a Christmas song. I then wanted to write a track specifically for the EP, and I knew exactly the sound and feel I wanted. The feel of a group of blues artists from the 30′s or 40′s, sitting and jamming in the 50′s or 60′s (as on the wonderful album of the 1960′s PENITENTIARY BLUES.) I hadn’t got around to writing it when the rhythm section was laying down tracks for this EP during the TO THE RIVER sessions, so ‘It’s Christmas Time’ was an off the cuff song – and it turned out to be exactly what I’d hoped for. With Julia Titus as my special guest on vocals, and Jason Manners adding his amazing guitar talents to two tracks, and Simon Mayor joining me again for the final track, this EP was all I hoped it would be. My grateful thanks, as always, to my Blues Horizon buddies Mike Baker and Howard Birchmore, as well as Julian Bown on drums and Andy Crowdy on double bass; not forget the technical skills of Matt Bew, all of whom helped make it what it is. It’s Christmas Time – November 2016.
The rhythm section of Andy Crowdy and Julian Bown worked well on “Bus Depot”, so that was my obvious starting point for this album. Some of the songs draw on the earlier writings from 2011 whilst others came during the recording process. For no discernible reason, there is a slightly different feel to this album, yet it still contains all the elements that pleased me so much about the previous one. Once again I decided to enhance the album by inviting a small number of great session musicians to guest. Nicole Johnson was with me on the “Doob” album, and it was great having her back to add her vocal style to three of the songs. Also on “Doob” was Roger Cotton, a formidable Hammond C3 player who added his part to “The Story” in his studio “Roundel” in Kent. Also working from his own studio, I was thrilled to have Simon Mayor contributing his virtuoso mandolin to one track and violin to three others. Finally, another fine Reading based session musician, Matt Empson, added his piano skills to three tracks. Mike Baker and Howard Birchmore continue to honour me by being part of my Blues Horizon and helping me bring my songs to life, both on record, and on public performances. Thanks guys. Stone Cold Sober – August 2015.
A couple of months after launching “The Doob Doo Album” I asked my good friend Mike Baker, and my new mate Howard Birchmore to join me so we could play a few gigs as a trio, performing some of the songs from the album. They had both featured on the album and were keen to give it a try. So I formed the trio now named John Cee Stannard & Blues Horizon. Our launch gig was at Henley Jazz and Blues festival November 2013 and during the following months I knew I needed an album that reflected our live performance. So we started recording tracks for “Bus Depot Blues” with the basic trio sound augmented by Julian Bown on Drums and Andy Crowdy on bass – both excellent session musicians. A limited number guest spots from Alison Rolls on vocal, and Melissa Lynch on violin kept the album routed in an acoustic sound. The reviews were tremendous, and are all included on the review page. Following a pre-release issue to supporters in June, the album was released in November 2014.
The “Doob Doo” album was released in May 2013. The launch event was a huge success and I’d like to thank everyone who came along to support the evening, which was a joint celebration of both the “Doob Doo” album, and the new long awaited Tudor Lodge album “Stay”. The reception we got for both albums was amazing. Thank you.
I started writing the songs for this, my first solo project, in 2011, with recording getting under way in August of 2012. I have been fortunate to have some great musicians working with me on this project, helping me produce and release this blues based album of largely original songs. My first port of call was Paul Millns, a verteran pianist/singer/songwriter with over a dozen fine albums to his credit. I am lucky enough to have known Paul since the early 1970′s so it seemed natural to ask him for advice and guidance. Paul put me in touch with drummer (and all round musician) Richard Hudson. Richard then introduced me to renowned bassist Nigel Portman Smith. Paul also introduced me to trombone player Nick Pentelow, who in turn introduced trumpet man Matt Winch, who in turn brought in trombone player Mike Innes. And so the adventure played out with one introduction leading to another so that in the end we had exactly the right blend of sixteen wonderful musicians supporting me in my endevour. I remain so grateful to them all for contributing so creatively and enthusiatically to this album. I was delighted and proud to launch the the “Doob Doo” album on the 10th May 2013. I sincerely hope that you will enjoy listening to these songs as much as I have enjoyed writing and recording them. Cheers John Cee Stannard