Saturday, September 11, 2010

Big Otis Blues reviewed by Rick Davis

Big Otis Blues

Rob Blaine
Swississippi Records
No website
12 Tracks

Rob Blaine is no stranger to the blues world. At the age of 15, he got his first guitar and shortly after performed with his guitar instructor in Michigan. While visiting the Chicago area, his dad would take him to Rosa's Lounge to sit in with the artists. After coming of age, he moved back to Chicago and started working at Rosa's. The local bluesmen realized how talented he was and started hiring him around the windy city. He began touring the United States and finally internationally with artists like the late-great Little Milton and most recently with The Chicago R&B Kings (formally Big Twist and The Mellow Fellows). He now performs with his blues band Big Otis Blues working at the famed Chicago Kinston Mines.

Having had the pleasure of seeing of him perform with The Chicago R&B Kings locally recently, it was obvious just how talented he was at guitar. His vocals matched his ability to play guitar.

His new album Rob Blaine's Big Otis Blues showcases his talents supported by Joewaun "Man" Scott on bass, James Knowles on drums, and a host of seasoned veterans on organ, piano, vocals, and guitar. Blaine opens this collection of blues with "Not The Forgiving Kind" exploding on guitar with excellent use of his wah pedal. He then switches gears with a smooth subtle guitar style in "Only Mine". He once again turns the heat up with "Affection and Pain" displaying his powerhouse vocals. "Same Old Blues" is done with deep down soul and really shows the full potential of this young blues artist. Throughout the tune "Hourglass Baby", Jowaun Scott supports Blain's high-powered guitar and vocals with an exceptional bass part. Nigal Mack performs a solid national steel solo in "Gone, Not Forgot" with Rob Blain playing acoustic background. Blain again returns to his high-energy explosive guitar style on tunes "Trouble", "Can't Help But Wonder", "Don't Burn Down The Bridge" and "Must Be Nice". The cd is completed with another soulful R&B number "Find A Way" and a solo acoustic guitar tune "Must Be Nice". Blaine seems to have the talent, drive, and passion to perform on blues scene for many years to come.

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