All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

5

Eric Bibb: Migration Blues

Chris Mosey By

Sign in to view read count
Eric Bibb says in the sleeve note to Migration Blues, his most politicized album to date: "The way I see it, prejudice towards our brothers and sisters who are currently called 'refugees' is the problem. Fear and ignorance are the problems. Refugees are not 'problems'—they are courageous fellow human beings escaping dire circumstances."

Not the way Donald Trump sees it.

Bibb, probably America's most important folk blues artist, shouldn't have much to fear from Trump, thanks to his own migrations. He lives in Scandinavia and records in France. But he says: "With this album I want to encourage us all to keep our minds and hearts wide open to the ongoing plight of refugees everywhere. As history shows, we all come from people who, at some time or another, had to move."

He mixes American folk music "classics," such as Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" and Bob Dylan's "Masters Of War" with his own songs about the current refugee crisis. "Prayin' For Shore," a gospel-based tune about the exodus from Syria, is all the more powerful for its understated vocal: In a ol' leaky boat/Somewhere on the sea/Tryin' to get away from the war/Welcome or not, we got to land soon/Oh, Lord—prayin' for shore.

Even when his songs have no words, there an underlying statement of sorts. On the instrumental title track he plays a resophonic 12-string guitar bought in Germany, end destination for most Syrian refugees. Not that any of them could afford such an instrument.

Bibb also finds inspiration in the distant past, citing Roman orator Cicero: "To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history."

"Delta Getaway" trod this path, based on the story told him by "a blues elder" of a migration that took place in the US long before Bibb was born: flight from the murderous Deep South to the relatively free industrial north.

"Brotherly Love" is a reaffirmation of faith in the peaceful transformation of society of which that exodus was part. Meditating on the paranoid pronouncements of the present incumbent of the White House, Bibb says: "As dire as our situation is, I still believe that the compass of brotherly love can guide us safely to peaceful shores."

Let's hope he's right, people.

Track Listing: Refugee Moan; Delta Getaway; Diego’s Blues; Prayin’ for Shore; Migration Blues; Four Years, No Rain; We Had To Move; Masters Of War; Brotherly Love; La Vie Est Comme Un Oignon (Life Is Like An Onion); With A Dolla’ In My Pocket; This Land Is Your Land; Postcard From Booker; Blacktop; Mornin’ Train.

Personnel: Eric Bibb: vocals, guitars and banjo; Michael Jerome Browne: guitars, vocals, banjos, mandolin and triangle; J. J. Milteau: harmonica; Olle Linder: drums; Big Daddy Wilson, Ulrika Bibb: back-up vocals.

Title: Migration Blues | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Dixiefrog

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
 

Get Onboard

Telarc Records
2008

buy
Sisters and Brothers

Sisters and Brothers

Telarc Records
2004

buy
 

Good Stuff

EarthBeat!
1998

buy

Related Articles

Read Lab 2018, The Rhythm of the Road CD/LP/Track Review
Lab 2018, The Rhythm of the Road
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 25, 2018
Read 8 Songs CD/LP/Track Review
8 Songs
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Facing Dragons CD/LP/Track Review
Facing Dragons
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Brothers CD/LP/Track Review
Brothers
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 24, 2018
Read The Fearless Flyers CD/LP/Track Review
The Fearless Flyers
by John Bricker
Published: September 24, 2018
Read "The Bat Swings!" CD/LP/Track Review The Bat Swings!
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 17, 2018
Read "Live" CD/LP/Track Review Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 21, 2018
Read "The Way Home" CD/LP/Track Review The Way Home
by Joe Gatto
Published: November 23, 2017
Read "Louise Baranger Plays The Great American Songbook" CD/LP/Track Review Louise Baranger Plays The Great American Songbook
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: February 6, 2018
Read "You Eat My Food, You Drink My Wine, You Steal My Girl!" CD/LP/Track Review You Eat My Food, You Drink My Wine, You Steal My Girl!
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 7, 2018
Read "Cycles of Animation" CD/LP/Track Review Cycles of Animation
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 11, 2017