19 November 2023 (released)
19 November 2023
Bob Margolin is a multi-award winning Blues guitarist who has played solo, with Muddy Waters, with Johnny Winter and, this year, celebrates 50 years since he joined Muddy Waters backing band. In fact, this entire album was played on the same Gibson Archtop electric guitar he used in the movie ‘The Last Waltz’, playing alongside The Band and Muddy Waters.
He has also been heavily involved as Musical Director for The Pinetop Perkins Workshop Experience - an annual blues music educational workshop held in Clarksdale, Mississippi, organized by The Pinetop Perkins Foundation. Professional blues musicians from all over the world teach youths the blues music tradition and instrumentation: guitar, drums, bass, harmonica, piano, and voice.
Unsurprisingly, this is an album of Blues. Not the polished blues of Joe Bonamassa or the Blues/rock of Walter Trout but the edgy, strident and heartfelt Blues of Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker and Lightnin’ Perkins and Willie Dixon and so very many others.
It isn’t slick or easy listening but when Margolin sings about “One less Bluesman on the streets this year” (’Mean Old Chicago’) you hear and feel the loss as if it were happening to you.
The album features a series of self-written numbers and covers, but all in Margolin’s very individual style and voicing. His guitar playing is bright, notes chiming and individual and his slide playing leaves you in no doubt that he was the slide voice behind many of Muddy’s later numbers. Every note and harmony was played by Margolin himself.
He covers numbers such as Muddy Waters’ ‘Going Down To Main St.’ - powerful slide playing here – and ‘Lonely Man Blues’ (which he co-wrote with Muddy) as well as Willie Dixon’s ‘Who’ and Jimmy Rodgers ‘Hard Working Man’. The surprise coming with a version of The Band’s ‘Shape I’m In’ done as a Blues with 4 part harmony.
The album is a joy from start to finish. Real Blues, played with talent and a feel for the Bluesmen of old. It made me dive back into some old recordings and revisit the Blues as it should be.