Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Troubadour Livereviewed by Steve Jones

Troubadour Live
Eric Bibb
Telarc Records
13 tracks

I finally got to see Eric Bibb live about 5 or 6 years ago.  If you have never seen him live, you are missing out on something that you must try to get to see and hear.  Sure his CD work is spectacular and when captured live on a special recording like this one you get to hear and feel his depth and power in singing, songwriting, lyrics and playing.  But live he is even better.  Kudos to Telarc for capturing the electricity and spark of a fine live show- it really transmits the feel of a spectacular show!

Recorded in Upsala, Sweden, about 50 miles north of Stockholm, Bibb is joined by Swedish guitarist Stefan Astner who has recorded with many of the music industry greats including Ray Charles, Ian Hunter and Celine Dion.  Glen Scot, Andre De Lange and Paris Renita are known collectively as the gospel trio Psalm4, who Bibb worked with before (both individually and as a group) and join him in the latter half of the live show..

The set opens with “The Cape”, a tune that hearkens back the child-like innocence of putting one’s mind to impossible tasks and achieving them despite what adults would deem impossible odds.  It is a nice opening track from one of the top blues story tellers and it precedes even more great tunes.  He then introduces Astner and the two get into a rousing “New Home” and the title track; Bibbs acoustic guitar and Astner’s electric guitar blend beautifully on top of Bibb’s storybook lyrics.

They slow it down for the next four cuts, again harmoniously blending acoustic and electric guitar in a tasteful and delicious blend and then raise the tempo up slightly for two before a final slow number encore entitled “For You”.  The Pslam4 singers do an amazing job with Bibb.  On “Connected”, Bibb features DeLange in a moaning Zulu chant.  Paris is amazing “For You” while all three harmonize nicely with Bibb on “New World Comin’ Through” and “Thanks for the Joy”.

The final two tracks are from the studio that first goes down to the country and then into a reggae style.  “Put Your Love First” is a slow country duet with Troy Cassar-Daley and “If You Were Not My Woman” is pretty much a joyful, straight up reggae Bibb delivers sweetly.
This is really a fine and amazing CD that shows this talented man and the talented people he makes beautiful music with.  I give Bibb high marks for this great high CD and recommend it for anyone who wants to see how amazing acoustic blues can be and how they can be jazzed up with electric guitar tastefully and yet maintain the spirit of raw, acoustic blues.

Reviewed by Steve Jones

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