Bob Margolin is not exactly unknown in the blues world, but it just might surprise even long-time admirers just how raw, nasty, and day-back the Blues Around the World release is. The first track doesn't just come tearing out of your speakers, it rips up the housing and shreds that fancy cloth-covering you liked because it matched the sofa, spitting tobacco and swigging a brew as it does. Too late for worries about furniture, though, bub, 'cause we're just getting started. Mike Sponza, an Italian musician and long-term fan of Margolin's work, invited Bob to accompany him and the band on a 10 show European tour, and the result was so good that the pair decided to hit the studio and break out a disc before Margolin headed back stateside. This is that progeny.
Margolin sings with a thick-tongued glottal tone that sounds as though he just stumbled out from the back alley, a bottle of Thunderbird in one hand, guitar in the other. Between that, the loose but blues-intense exchanges between he and Sponza, and a back-in-the-era attitude, Blues Around the World sounds as though it was taken from the stage at an after hours jam rather then the confines of a well padded room in a complex. Even the laid-back tracks possess a distinctive tang and atmosphere that usually isn't evocable in a studio.
So who's this Mike Sponza guy? Perhaps I can best answer that by saying that, among a raft of really good songs, his breezy Rather than Being Free is my favorite cut. Not quite sure why, because there are some really righteous other tracks in among the 12 selections, but the icy cool approach and tamped-down beat are classier than hell. Ah, but then both he and Margolin set up a terminally infectious boogie shuffle on the very next tune, Bob's While You're down There, and the joint starts rockin' its ass off again. You might even call this modern primitivist because its vibe is so primally quintessential of the transition from elder and Chicago days into rock's early period that you'll swear you've unearthed a long-lost rough diamond. T'ain't so, Magee, but I feel the same way, so order a bottle of Southern Comfort to accompany that 24-pak of brews, and let's get stinkin' drunk with the boys in the band!
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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