ROBIN BANK$ is a blues singer/songwriter whose bitter sweet voice and sassy, sultry performances have captivated audiences since the early 90s. Having been raised a mere 50 miles from Detroit, she instantly fell in love with Soul and Motown music. In 1993 she formed The ROBIN BANK$ Blues Band and has since performed at clubs and festivals throughout much of the U.S. and Canada. ROBIN relocated to Dallas, Texas in 1999 and reformed her band with some of the area's finest musicians.
The new self-produced 56 minute CD contains 14 tracks that were all written and arranged by ROBIN BANK$. The songs cover the gamut of real-life experiences about desire, romance and love lost. Unlike on her initial effort (1997's Permanent Record), ROBIN comes across as a mature artist who excels as a confidant blues belter. Surely, this is a direct result of livin' the blues on the inside of the Dallas blues scene as opposed to being on the outside looking in. This combined with her solid rhythm section of Marc Wilson (drums) and Drew Allain (bass), had the makings of a great CD. Then for good measure she threw in a plethora of guest musicians such as Hash Brown on guitar and harmonica!
"Don't Ya Love Me Like That" features the fantastic, well-timed harp work of friend and mentor 'Sweet' Sam Myers. You will have a blast on the Texas shuffling "The Whiskey Song". ROBIN'S laughter at the beginning sets the mood. She uses her voice effectively for emphasis on phrases such as: 'gonna find me a bad man cause a good man hurt me too.' She belts out the lyrics on "My Kinda Lover" as only someone who gigs constantly could do while making the listener come to the conclusion that she couldn't have named the disc 'Innocence'! Check these words out: 'If you need good lovin', I'll show you how, if you want some kissin', I got 2 sweet lips and if you need some pushing I got strong hips'.
The pace changes to electric country blues on "Thinkin' 'Bout You" with BB King style guitar courtesy of Marcia Ball's Pat Boyack. "I'm In Love With Another Man" is an R&B tune that catches your attention immediately. It's one of those songs that instantly becomes a favorite. Here, BANK$ delivers the lyrics genuinely and confidently as if she has lived them. Things get stripped down to guitar and harp only on the John Lee Hooker influenced "None 'A Nothin'". There is a hearty, emotional depth to "I'd Be Everything To You". Its a passionate number where Holland K. Smith's guitar shines and Tim Alexander's organ compliments ROBIN'S pleading voice. The background vocals of Randy McAllister gives a 50s rock flavor to "Work It Out".
The disc is full of real Texas and Chicago electric blues not easily recognized by the retro black and white cover. Those who have seen ROBIN perform live may agree that some of her spontaneity is missing on this refined disc. However her essence is captured by the band's raw sound. This blues woman is the real deal - honestly.
For CDs, booking and information, contact: ROBIN via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit her website: www.geocities.com/robinbanksblues
This review is copyright © 2001 by Tim Holek, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.