Music You Don't Know You Like Yet
Bob Margolin has had a long career in the blues including a prime spot in Muddy Waters’ band between 1973 and 1980 where he appeared in countless shows and on several discs. Since leaving that gig he has forged a well respected solo career with numerous discs and production jobs keeping him busy. This, his third release for VizzTone, reflects a lifetime of roads, bandstands and hard lessons. "My Whole Life" kicks things off with an homage to the stages where he’s earned his living, a thought that sometimes takes a while to kick in as evidenced on "I Shall Prevail" where he starts the day with dread “Oh no…/these are my first words today” before coming to his senses and noting that “I’ll play my blues with fire/there are more songs to be sung.” On "Young and Old Blues" he reassures himself and others that age is just a matter of perspective to a musician and no matter his age “the road is tough/so am I.” Speaking of roads, "Heaven Mississippi", takes you to Clarksdale, Mississippi for a history lesson of old school blues with a name check of countless departed legends including Muddy, Pinetop Perkins, Hubert Sumlin, Robert Johnson and others. When he’s not reflecting on his musical path, Margolin takes on life lessons such as found on Sean Costello’s "Low Life Blues" where he laments having “so many dollars/but I didn’t have no sense” and recounts the timeless adage of “ask me no questions/I’ll tell you no lies” on "Ask Me No Questions". While Margolin made his mark as a guitar player this is far from a guitar slinger’s vanity piece. Instead, much like Muddy, he gives ample room to Tad Walters on harmonica and uses his guitar as more of an accent to his vocals than as the centerpiece of the sound. The solos he does play, such as on the mid-tempo ballad, "More and More", the swampy "Understanding Heart", the rocking "Feelin’ Right Tonight" and on the solo acoustic, "Goodnight", are economical with not a wasted note. On Nappy Brown’s "Bye Bye Baby" he sets the guitar aside entirely and relies solely on Walters’ harp work to drive the acapella vocals he lays down with drummer Chuck Cotton. While there are some shuffles and a couple of slow grinding blues, this is not a straight blues disc which, after all these years, is probably a nice change of pace for Margolin but will probably be a surprise for those looking for another tour through the Muddy Waters Catalog. Smitty
review by Mark
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