It's rare that you are able to truly imagine what a blues group would sound like live based on a studio-recorded CD. That's not the case with "Pass the Biscuits" from Barbecue Bob and the Spareribs. One listen to this and you'll want to hear these guys in a dark blues club late at night.
This CD has a raw, authentic edge to it because these New York City/New Jersey blues veterans recorded the all 13 tracks in one day. The mix is great, simply because this recording was not overproduced - it's straight blues all around. The challenge is to peg the style of this group. You can hear the Delta blues influences on the edgy "A Bullet for You," the 50's rock influence on "Gorillacillin" and just about every other avenue of blues scattered throughout this recording.
The music is great because of the individual strengths of the musicians. Bob Pomeroy's vocals have a laid back, ultra cool feel. His harp work is smooth and soulful. The guitar work, especially the slide guitar on "Hot Biscuit" (a Pomeroy original) cuts through effortlessly, making this one of the best tracks on the disk. The rhythm section is tight and has a way of sitting just behind the beat, making you hang on for each downbeat.
The biggest strength of this disk is probably its biggest weakness too. This disk has so much variety it's hard to get a handle on who these guys are and what they're about. That mystery, however, makes you want to listen even more to figure out Barbecue Bob and the Spareribs.
"Pass the Biscuits" is available through Dada Records, P.O. Box 112, New Brusnwick, NJ 08903-0112 or you can call (732) 247-2988.
This review is copyright © 2000 by Joe Thornton, 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.
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