Ann Rabson with Bob Margolin
VizzTone Label Group
BluesWax Rating: 8 out of 10
Cohesive Musical Dialogues Between Friends
It’s been seven years since Ann Rabson‘s last solo project, a stretch that saw her dealing with some major health issues, as well as the end of Saffire – the Uppity Blues Women, the band that brought Rabson international acclaim. Paired with longtime friend Bob Margolin, she delivers a string of intimate renditions of classic blues tunes as well as more contemporary pieces.
On the opener, Rev. Thomas A. Dorsey‘s “I’m Going to Live the Life I Sing About in My Song,” Rabson’s husky voice offers up a hopeful plea for salvation while Margolin’s dark-toned guitar offers a cautionary counterpoint. Rabson takes a frisky approach on “Let’s Get Drunk and Truck,” while on “It Ain’t Love” she shows her mastery of the barrelhouse piano style, her left hand laying down a powerful rhythm while her right hand dances across the keyboard with Margolin’s penetrating slide guitar licks adding to the down-in-the-alley mood.
The interplay between the piano and guitar on “Let’s Go Get Stoned” makes that track a highlight, as does Rabson’s alluring vocal in search of the truth on “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby.” She trades vocals with Margolin on “How Long Blues,” creating a descriptive portrait of despair over Rabson’s potent playing. They romp through a spirited rendition of “Caledonia” before tapping deep into the roots on Percy Mayfield‘s “River’s Invitation.” Rabson’s slow-rolling piano lines form the perfect backdrop for Margolin’s anguished tale. Margolin delivers another strong performance on “Guess I’m a Fool,” a Memphis Slim original that has Rabson’s providing shimmering piano fills to accent his vocal.
Roy Bookbinder‘s “Anywhere You Go” spotlights more of Rabson’s rollicking piano while “No Time for The Blues,” written by EG Kight, mixes Rabson’s passionate singing and Margolin’s deft guitar playing. His nimble picking on acoustic guitar drives his original “Let It Go,” featuring his deep voice offering a plea for understanding and forgiveness.
This one is a joy to listen to from start to finish. These two veterans don’t subject you to endless solos or screaming vocals. They are content to conduct a series of cohesive musical dialogues that may be lacking in flamboyance but offer performances that will stick with you for a long time. Don’t let this one pass you by!
Mark Thompson is a contributing writer at BluesWax.
Disclosure: The parent company of this publication is a part owner in the label that released this CD.
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