Reviews – The Doob Doo Album

Maybe he is known to some of you as one of the founders of the English folk group Tudor Lodge. In blues circles, the name John Cee Stannard will not ring a bell immediately, but this could change with this CD release “The Doob Doo Album”. Although his folk roots are clearly present on this album, he nonetheless embarks on this solo project, looking for the old-school blues – in the broadest sense of the word.

Alongside being a musician and songwriter, Stannard is also a writer, actor and radio presenter. His healthy curiosity for different blues styles has resulted in this CD of thirteen captivating songs bathed in an atmosphere of blues and jazz clubs in the late ‘40s. Likewise, you will find Soul and Latin influences. There were a total of sixteen musicians involved in this project, which took almost two years to complete from writing the songs to the CD being released. Stannard also plays the guitar, bass and sings vocals, wrote most of the songs and chose “That’s My Way” by Gary Fletcher for a surprising but, at the same time, sublime cover song.

The various musicians provide support including harmonica, accordion, banjo and piano, as well as saxophone, trumpet and trombone. This gives you an idea of ​​the overall framework. This style also hits you as being roughly that of CW Stoneking, and what Stannard shows us here is how easily he can be compared with this successful artist. You could place all the individual songs, in the timeline cited, and they sound as smooth as a whole.

The enthusiasm with which the whole project was anticipated and completed is impressive. The enthusiasm drips as it were, off the CD. There is a fascinating variety between songs with the horns in a prominent role and, say, more sober songs with guitar and harmonica like “Lost Lover Blues” which Stannard has arranged beautifully on this Blind Boy Fuller classic!

The lovely acoustic intro to “Second Chance” is the run-up to a brilliant song with wistful accordion and John Cee which proves how phenomenally well his voice is suited to catchy, haunting, fragile songs. He is equally able to vocally explore numbers in a way which conjures up comparisons with Tom Waits. “Wrong Side Of Town” is such a song that could be credited to Waits. It therefore goes without saying that this man’s compositions (or songs) are more than exciting?

Blues purists might suggest that the “The Doob Doo Album” is not pure blues but we are inclined to imagine that John Cee Stannard presents the blues as he feels it, and in this case there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, quite the contrary. The whole CD was released with a very nice booklet where you can explore all the session musicians easily, and come with an excellent text to follow. We are certainly impressed with this record and can only recommend that you discover this fantastic artist. Indeed, we bet that after listening you’ll be as equally enthusiastic and be singing along with “Doob Doo Be Doo Wah “.

Spread the word to your friends…….
Translation of Review by Luc Meert – Rootstime Magazine – Belgium – February 2014

When I received this album I immediately started to listen and as usual during the process, I made notes. “The Doob Doo Album” is the name of the album, and the musician coming to us from the UK is called John Cee Stannard. The album was released last May on JohnCee’s own Cast Iron Recordings label.

JohnCee is not too famouse here to blues fans, although he has been on the music scene for more than forty years. He is the founder member of the English folk group Tudor Lodge, he is also a radio presenter, novelist and actor.

“The Doob Doo Album” is his first solo album and is an inspiring effort for which he gathered a large band, actually an orchestra of sixteen members, calling it simply Blues Orchestra. Consequently, his music resonates a rich sound, depth and passion generated by these seasoned session musicians. With this in mind, the album sounds surprisingly coherent. Equally, there is no doubt that all of the muusicians involved on this recording were one hundred percent dedicated to the music, and enjoyed presenting it to the audience. So, although this is a blues album, it was imperative that they hear and feel the strong and forcefull effects of other traditional music forms of jazz, soul and even latin.

John Cee Stannard wrote ten of the thirteen songs on the album, which bodes well for future copyright. Another is co-writted; one is his arrangement (of a standard Blind Boy Fuller song); ” That’s My Way” was written by Gary Fletcher of The Blues Band.

As my journey through the album developed, more and more I realised that this sound track reminds us of an earlier period, and takes us back to an ear of swing. There are some very impressive moments, for example, in the song “Devil’s Own Store” and “Hid Behind The Door”, where the sound is simply suberb, with a short acoustic guitar solo, piano and harmonica.

Certainly, one of the key elements that makes this album so enjoyable is the Stannardov vocals. In fact, unlike many British singers, JohnCee does not prefer an American accent while singing. His vocal is clearly English, steady and stable. At the same time it is open and responsive, which is good to hear! The lighter pieces contrast gently with a huge amount of passion and sentimentality. There are tracks rich in maturity and understanding of life – telling us that therefore if you get a second chance at life, then you know just what you need to do – so why not do it now. This is a question I ask myself – listen to the song “Second Chance” and you might get at least part of the answer. Next, I have to mention “Better Days”, “Lost Lover Blues”, “Doob Doo Be Doo Wah”, “Wrong Side Of Town” and “Separation Blues”.

Of special note is the label with the following warning:
“This album is protected by copyright, and sharing, copying or downloading whilst avoiding payment is very naughty and we’d really prefer that you didn’t do it – thanks.”

So do not be naughty, but nice, honest and buy “The Doob Doo Album” – you will not regret it.
Translation (with some paraphrasing) of review by Mladen Loncar SOUNDGUARDIAN Croatia – March 2014

John Cee Stannard is a fascinating fellow, although his name is probably not well known to many blues fans. A founding member of the English folk group, Tudor Lodge, he has been part of the folk music scene in the UK for over 40 years. He is also a radio presenter, novelist and actor – you may have seen him (briefly) as an extra in movies such as “Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire”, “The Da Vinci Code” or “Skyfall”.
The “Doob Doo” Album is Stannard’s first solo album. It was written in 2011, when Stannard found himself taken in the direction of the blues by the nature of the songs he was writing, recorded in 2012 and released in 2013. Featuring Stannard on guitar, bass and vocals, it also features 16 different musicians providing support on vocals, electric and double bass, drums and percussion, saxophones, trumpet, trombone, banjo, piano, Hammond C3, harmonica, accordion and acoustic and National guitars. The musicians are all renowned session musicians, but even so, the result is a surprisingly coherent album, with a depth and passion that one might not necessarily expect. It is clear that everyone involved in the release loves this music and enjoys playing it. And, although it is definitely a blues album, The “Doob Doo” Album also has strong influences of Trad Jazz, soul and Latin music. Stannard wrote 10 of the 13 songs on the album himself, co-wrote one, and arranged another. “That’s My Way” was written by The Blues Band’s Gary Fletcher. And none of the songs would have sounded out of place on a recording from 70 or 80 years ago.

This music harks back to an earlier, pre-electric period, sometimes evoking the swing era with the horns featured prominently, although songs such as “Devil’s Own Store” and “Hid Behind The Door” manage to fit in delightful, short acoustic solos for the guitar, piano and harmonica.

One of the key elements that makes this album so enjoyable is Stannard’s singing voice. Unlike many British singers, Stannard does not affect an American accent when he sings. His voice is plainly English, even on a song like “Regular Guy”, which could easily be an out-take from an early Tom Waits session (other than in respect of the vocals). However, there is an openness and vulnerability to his voice that makes songs such as “That’s When I Get The Blues” curiously affecting.

A number of songs lean towards the slower end of the spectrum, but there is a drive and passion to these songs that makes them uncommonly listenable. The lyrics, as befits a man who has been writing songs for over 40 years, have a sense of maturity and perspective, so the protagonist of “Second Chance” warns the listener that “if you get a second chance to live your life again, take care that what you ask won’t lose everything”, whilst at the same time as suggesting that “every path will lead you here to me. I believe the picture always will show you and me.”

There is also a sharp wit at work on this album. It can be seen in the medley of Patrick Sky’s “Separation Blues” and Stannard’s own “Separation Blues” (no, that isn’t a typo), which contains the delightful line “Staying out all night well that was bad enough, finding your number on my cuff, well I ain’t saying no-one seen us, but that was enough to put a wall between us.” The same wit can be seen in the cover art. The CD is beautifully packaged, with a detailed lyric booklet, which dryly categorises each song as a bucket blues, a groove blues, a dinner blues, a country blues, a café blues, or a latino blues. It also has a cover that appears at first glance to be a reproduction of an old-fashioned ’78, whilst still containing the legal statement that “This album is protected by copyright so sharing, copying or downloading whilst avoiding payment is very naughty and we’d really prefer that you didn’t do it – thanks.”

For those whose tastes extend to the jazzier or swing side of the blues, The “Doob Doo” Album is highly enjoyable and warmly recommended.
Rhys Williams – BluesBlast Magazine – USA – 15th January 2014

Founder member of cult 60’s and 70’s folk outfit Tudor Lodge, Stannard turns his attention to old-school blues – in its broadest definition – with The Doob Do Album. … His folk roots are very evident throughout this very English nod to the blues, with tracks ranging from folk ballads to old-time crooning plus country-blues, jazz and even latino influences. Stannard is clearly an accomplished musician and songwriter, but the sheer diversity of the styles he has tackles dilutes the impact of those he excels at. …
Morgan Hogarth – R2 – Rock’n’Reel excerpt November/December 2013

JohnCee from Tudor Lodge has released a new album. He has finished his solo project which took a long time to complete. The tracks are a homage to the blues which was performed in cafes and jazz clubs in the 40’s and 50’s. Richard Hudson from the Strawbs, and Nigel Portman Smith from Pentangle were the rhythm section; altogether, 16 musicians were involved with this project. Various blues styles which take you back to older times are featured alongside solo performances which sound tight. The music reflects John Cee’s folk career. It’s very interesting and I’m into it.
Tetsuo Uchida – Euro-Rock Press – Japan. September 2013