The term blues guitarist has been so abused and misused, that when the real player comes along, it sounds like a jaded cliché to utilize it. Bob Margolin
is a blues guitarist. His tenure in the Muddy Waters
band from 1973 to 1980 netted him that distinctive title, and My Road
, is his story. On this record, Margolin opted to go with a bare bones ensemble consisting of himself on guitar, Chuck Cotton on drums, and Ted Walters on the harmonica (harp). This has been his working outfit of late, and they are a tight cohesive unit. He wrote six of the twelve tunes, and as the main title reveals, they are pretty much autobiographical. This is primarily a vocal record, where his guitar is utilized in the accompanying role, with trademark bursts of genius.
"My Whole Life," starts off the set with a Muddy inspired shuffle depicting his life on the road. "More And More," and "I Shall Prevail," are performed without the harp, Margolin dubbing the bass and rhythm guitar parts. He goes solo on "Goodnight," a tender country blues which reaches back to rural roots. "Understanding Heart," takes a syncopated rumba direction, and the beat picks up with "Low Life Blues," where Walters steps up his harp lines, going for that full throttle Chicago school reminiscent of Little Walter
. The harp is the only accompaniment on Nappy Brown's "Bye Bye Baby," where Margolin is joined on vocal by Chuck Cotton, who shows he's got the soul where and when it counts.
"Young And Old Blues," is a nod to the older bluesmen, paying dues, and how life and age is seen through the eyes of the beholder, Walters moves over to rhythm guitar on this one, as Margolin takes a look back. "Ask Me No Questions," brings to mind Johnny Cash singing a blues tinged hymn, and then it's back to Saturday night bars on "Feelin' Right Tonight," a territory where these guys are right at home. Slide guitar introduces "Devil's Daughter," a tough approach to urban blues played through a razors edge. "Heaven Mississippi," depicts the story of Muddy Waters portrayed in a dream, and is an homage to his mentor, who taught him the real blues and changed his life.
After eleven records out under his own name, and countless production, accompanist, and consulting projects, Bob Margolin is right where he wants to be. He continues to maintain a steady yet comfortable touring schedule, and can choose when he wants to record, as he has his own label. He is the rare musician who has achieved the respect of his peers playing the music he loves, the blues, and only the blues. As the often colorful lyrics on My Road
describe, he has graced the stages with the best in the business and earned the right to be called a blues guitarist.
My Whole Life; More And More; I Shall Prevail; Goodnight; Understanding
Heart; Low Life Blues; Bye Bye Baby; Young And Old Blues; Ask Me No
Questions; Feelin’ Right Tonight; Devil’s Daughter; Heaven Mississippi.
Bob Margolin: vocals, guitars; Chuck Cotton: drums, vocals; Ted
Walters: harmonica, guitar.