Blues Bytes


November 2019

Bob Margolin
This Guitar And Tonight

Bob Margolin

Bob Margolin never ceases to amaze me with the variety and versatility he has consistently shown throughout his long blues career. But what he's never done before is to release an all-acoustic album --- in other words, just Bob and his trusty 1930s Gibson L-00 parlor guitar. Of course, Bob's mentor Muddy Waters had a hand in all of this, as in the liner notes he reminisces about the time that he asked Muddy which he preferred --- electric or acoustic. Muddy roared out, "Cue-Stick! Electric is an unfriendly sound!"

Thanks in part to Muddy's sage advice, we now have in our hands This Guitar And Tonight, a wonderful collection of nine songs with just Bob, his Gibson guitar and his deep, bluesy voice. Okay, it's not all Bob. He's got a guest joining him on two of the numbers here. Jimmy Vivino contributes guitar parts that sound very mandolin-ish on the opening title cut. Later in the album harmonica ace Bob Corritore joins in an acoustic version of "Blues Lover," a song the two recorded previously telling the tale of a woman who often shows up by herself at Corritore's Phoenix club, The Rhythm Room, with her getting totally absorbed in the blues on stage every single time.

Margolin has never been hesitant about voicing his opinions on contemporary issues, and he doesn't sugarcoat his thoughts here. On "Evil Walks  In Our World," he sings about what he considers the bad things in our society today --- "fake politicians," "keeping kids in cages" and more, before reminding us to "care for the sick" and "care for the old." Right on, Bob! His rants are accentuated with killer slide guitar. Nothing matches the eight-minute spoken blues, "Predator," on which he talks about John F. Kennedy's legacy as well as the time Bob performed at the White House with Muddy during the Jimmy Carter era. But his mood changes when he talks about the current occupant of the White House in using the phrase, "... Predator of the United States ..."

Other highlights on this disc include the up-tempo boogie number, "Dancers Boogie," with shouting vocals that I'm guessing Margolin attributes in part to the late Nappy Brown, a wonderful blues singer who he worked with quite often in the '80s and '90s. Margolin gets his slide back out on a slow country blues, "Over Time."

"I Can't Take These Blues Away" is another slow number that's got a dark side, with Bob recounting stories about people that he's met along the way who really have the blues because of the jobs they do.   On "Together," a slow country blues, he looks back at himself in singing about a long relationship he's had.

Bob Margolin continues to stretch his boundaries on every recording, which is just part of what makes him a national treasure. This Guitar And Tonight is another essential album in his very deep discography. It just might now be my favorite Margolin disc.

--- Bill Mitchell





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