There seems to be an increasing return to stripped down basic blues going on nowadays, and Ann Rabson and Bob 'Steady Rollin' Margolin are staking out their territory with Not Alone, a disc composed of just two voices, one guitar, and one piano. Seeing as the CD is dedicated to the late Pinetop Perkins, who lived through an era where dialed-back blues were as common as full ensembles, this configuration is perfectly appropos. Rabson was a 25-year member of the much-beloved Saffire - The Uppity Blues Women, and Margolin has been making his own way since leaving Muddy Waters' band back in '80 after a seven year stint. Ann and Bob being friends since 1987, it was inevitable they'd work together, and now it's happened.
Not Alone is straight-forward rural blues, simple, unadorned, just front parlor or pub sidestage fare minus any blow-out-the-walls affectations. When Margolin tackles Guess I'm a Fool, it's snapshot perfect as a soundtrack cut for a turn of the century film straddling the transition from back country blues into a nu-jazz lounge lizarding that's sitting to the side of the flappers and dance hall lotharios. Then there's the snappy Caledonia with Rabson sounding like a piano-bar chanteuse putting the pizzazz back in a buncha weary suits who just walked in the door desperately needing to escape the horrors of cubicle life without getting their nerves shredded.
My particular favorite is Let It Go, a Margolin original, especially for the killer guitar intro, after which Rabson boogie-woogies behind the fretmeister while he lays down the lyrics, though I really like Let's Go get Stoned as well. That song just can't help but keep its vibe intact year after year, and Rabson comes across as a woman who got tired of all the nonsense, decided to hang a left into sweet euphoria, and located a partner for nirvana, Margolin drawling the chorus with her.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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