All-Star Blues Jam
Telarc (2003) CD-83579
15 tracks, 67 minutes.
by Craig Ruskey
Review date: May/June 2003
"Keeping the Blues Alive Award"|
Achievement for Blues on the Internet
Presented by The Blues Foundation
If you require an introduction to Bob Margolin, you've been missing out on a truly dedicated performer in modern blues. A guitarist with chops to spare, no penchant for heroics whatsoever, and a background with a list of recording credits that most will never come close to matching, Steady Rollin' Bob Margolin is the real deal. Having played behind Muddy Waters for seven years, he has spent the past two decades touring relentlessly in support of his growing catalog of musical offerings, and his latest is an All-Star Blues Jam of the highest order. From a variety of settings including Margolin's own home, everything here was recorded 'live' to capture the true feeling of blues jams, and it succeeds masterfully. Supported by Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, Carey Bell, and Pinetop Perkins, all alumni from Waters' band, as well as Mookie Brill, Hubert Sumlin, and Jimmy D. Lane, while there might be a few bumps and warts along the way, these only add to the genuine nature of the disc. Margolin takes the vocal chores on a half-dozen including Johnny Shines' Brutal-Hearted Woman, and St. Louis Jimmy's Goin' Down Slow (with Hubert's fine acoustic guitar), but stands incredibly tall delivering his own Mean Old Chicago, written on the way to Jimmy Rogers' funeral, and Rogers' offspring, Jimmy D. Lane, sits in adding some excellent Southside Chicago guitar. Pinetop handles Robert Nighthawk's Sweet Black Angel and offers delicate piano on Just A Closer Walk With Thee, Margolin stating in the liner notes that in their relationship of better than thirty years, he'd never heard Pinetop play anything but blues. Carey Bell tosses in dynamic harmonica and powerful vocals on the romping One Day You're Gonna Get Lucky and It's Easy To Love You, and Willie Smith tackles drumming duties as well as offering his rasping harp to Little Walter's Juke and takes on Muddy's Country Boy with equally solid results. Honorable mention to Mookie Brill for his always in-the-pocket bass work, but especially his superb vocals on Bobby Bland's I'll Take Care Of You plus his sounds-like-it-was-written-on-Mawell My New Baby Owns A Whiskey Store. Bob Margolin and his friends prove that bluesmen don't really get older... they just get better. www.telarc.com
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