ROBIN BIBI is one of the best blues guitarists in the United Kingdom and paid his dues working with names lik Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, Ben.E.King, The Pretty Things and Helen Shapiro. He launched the Robin Bibi Band in the late 1990s…
Bibi is an outstanding performer – much sought after at festivals and clubs — and often takes his guitar into the audience to play “Up close and personal” – even getting up on top of tables to play.
When we saw Bibi play in STAINES we described his guitar-play as “Melt in the air moments […] like miniature sonic tear-drops… with atmospheric blues vapour absorbed into each smoky chord.”
Now he is about to release his first album of original songs, titled “No More a Secret” [Friday 8th July on Ashwood Records] and is joined by Tony Marten (bass guitar/vox) and Craig Bacon (drums.) The recording has been given some extra wellie by the Blackjack Horns comprising of Gary Barnacle, Nik Carter and Jack Birchwood.
We had a listen:
The disc begins with the coltish and bright track “Play!” This has elongated twists of grain starch guitar and some roughly-hewn vocals that are as rough ‘n’ raspy as a railroad track down Leflore County way. Add to that the shuffleboard beat and you got yourself a Biloxi moonshine party.
Then we find Bibi “In too Deep” with a chortling riff that chuckles and smiles.
There are sighs in there too, deeper down. So when he sings “You always keep me guessing...” We know that his feelings are fraught. This is about waiting and hesitating … The chorus rings out true and the pace is finger lickin ‘good. This is smoky ‘n’ blue.
“Packing My Possessions” is another ta-ra heart-breaker. With meticulous guitar-play and those smoke-filled and hazy Blackjack horns coming in to alleviate the sense of despair. Yes, this is forlorn, but not necessarily sad. Although “icicles fall from trees like love melts to the ground.” Passionate and realistic, this is a heart-breaking treat that relinquishes its energies like a slow-burning fuse.
The album concludes with probably the strongest track “No Label on Me.” This reminds us very much of UK guitarist Larry Miller. The voice has a red berry acidity to it and the melody and lyrical content will surely remind you of the “Ain’t Got No/I Got Life” song from the “Hair” musical, made famous by Nina Simone. But this also has a burnt umber standpoint and slightly angry disposition. And that is why it bites so deep.
Want stinging sounds, poignant feelings and characterful guitar-work? This excellent blues guitarist and exciting singer / songwriter shows how us it’s done. Superior stuff!
For Fans of UK’s Larry Miller.
No More a Secret is out Friday 8th July
Meantime, check out this old track BLUES by the Robin Bibi Band: