Music You Don't Know You Like Yet
With numerous discs to his credit, Eric Bibb uses this new one to explore the plight of refugees past and present. Oppression, danger, fear, starvation, escape, opportunity and safety have been the hallmarks of migration for centuries despite the perils involved. On "Refugee Moan" and "Prayin’ For Shore" desperation to escape the madness of war drives a willingness to take any mode of transportation to find somewhere that hopefully will be safer than what has been left behind. "Delta Getaway" and With a "Dolla’ In My Pocket" describe the equally compelling flight of rural blacks fleeing the Jim Crow oppression of the post-civil war south. Bibb points out that not all refugees are pushed out by war but also by natural disaster, "Four Years, No Rain", big cigar politicians, "We Had to Move", and even just the desire to have a better life, "Diego’s Blues". Bibb’s cover of Bob Dylan’s classic "Masters of War" takes on special power as he rails against the ones making the decisions that have placed so many on their perilous journeys. The jaunty instrumental "La Vie C’Est Comme Un Oignon" is an ode to the forced removal of the French Acadians from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward which resulted in their great migration to the bayous of Louisiana where they soon became known as Cajuns. Woody Guthrie’s "This Land Is Your Land" finds a comfortable home here and in the context of this disc is a timely reminder that we need to have open arms to those coming our way whether it be to escape war or for a better opportunity. The traditional "Mornin’ Train" ends the disc with the hopeful note that if all else fails "Milk and Honey" awaits you on the other side. Throughout, Bibb, Michael Jerome Browne and JJ Milteau lay down an acoustic country blues backdrop that gives the tunes an instant familiarity. This disc should be required listening at the start of any debate regarding refugees and migrants. If you are against admission of refugees and economic migrants perhaps this view of it through the eyes of those forced to flee even in our own country will give you pause. If you are for admission, your resolve to resist efforts to end it may harden into action. Either way, as always, music has a way of opening both minds and hearts. SMITTY
review by Mark
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