STYLE: Blues RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 152205-22248 LABEL: DixieFrog DFGCD8765 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 3
Reviewed by Lins Honeyman
Any 'best of' compilation by American-born, Finland-based bluesman Bibb is guaranteed to be a sumptuous affair and this three disc collection from the chocolate-voiced troubadour is certainly no exception. Charting his output from 2003 onwards, the fact that there isn't one bad song here is in no small way due to Bibb's intuitive ability to write or cover great material that oozes warmth and positivity, coupled with his undeniably stunning skills as a guitarist and vocalist. As ever, Bibb's spirituality takes prime position with a rip-roaring remake of "In My Father's House" kicking this anthology off before the likes of "With My Maker I Am One", a new version of the classic "Needed Time" and the live favourite "Don't Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down" all promoting the Gospel message. Whilst Bibb is very much at home in an acoustic blues setting, this collection also showcases his stylistic journey as an artist with much of the middle disc presenting a more soulful and experimental side. For instance, "Let The Mothers Step Up" and "Have A Heart" - both taken from the recent 'Jericho Road' album - betray a man who refuses to rest on his musical laurels and is determined to keep moving forward. A number of high profile collaborations also feature with the likes of Taj Mahal popping up on the deliciously rootsy blues of the old St Louis Jimmy Oden classic "Goin' Down Slow" whilst "For You" sees Ruthie Foster guest. Also there are a couple of tracks with Habib Koité which allow Bibb to dip his toe in African waters. Whilst this abundant release brings together a wealth of different styles, instrumentation and brilliant studio and live performances from all concerned, it is perhaps when Bibb is alone with only a guitar (check out astoundingly affecting versions of "Wayfaring Stranger" and Leadbelly's "Bourgeois Blues" as examples) that we see just why this fine artist is truly a cut above the rest.
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