It sure is great to see some of the legendary blues artists the Blues Saloon has been bringing to town. Fenton Robinson is one of those veterans who has been playing around the Chicago blues scene since he moved there from the Delta in 1961. Although he was a contemporary of Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, Magic Sam, Freddie King, Jimmy Dawkins, Junior Wells and Luther Allison he has developed a unique style of blues guitar playing that is all his own.
His guitar playing and this show can best be described as "laid back". In fact if you have a copy of his 1974 Alligator CD Somebody Loan Me A Dime you will see a relaxed Robinson sitting in a chair with his leg crossed and his guitar resting on his lap just playing the blues. His show Friday night was just like that...laid back, low key, down home Chicago blues done Fenton Robinson's way. But don't get me wrong this show was definitely a musically exciting event. His guitar playing is some of the most original and intricate you will find by any blues performer today.
His regular band was with him including brothers Leon and Wendell Ragsdale on keyboards and drums and Floyd Jenkins on bass with son James Robinson touring with the band who also plays bass. Robinson played many of his original's including the now legendary Somebody Loan Me a Dime covered in 1969 by Boz Scaggs with Duane Allman on guitar. He also did a great Temptations medley featuring My Girl and Just My Imagination. His guitar playing was so good I could close my eyes and almost hear the harmony of the Temps four voices coming out of his single guitar and voice. This was one of those memorable shows that I was glad to have been a part of.
Talking to Robinson during the break I found a very humble, quiet and friendly man who is proud of his music. He now lives in Rockford Illinois and plays local clubs in town. He said he plans on doing another CD in the next year. One that I look forward to hearing.
This is a picture of Fenton's guitar resting on the stage of the Blues Saloon prior to this show.
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