Steady Rollin' Bob Margolin featured in No Depression
“I really put everything I have into making it, no compromise or short-cuts,” Bob Margolin says of his latest, My Road. It's his musical autobiography, an insider's look at a career spanning four decades, during which he's associated with some of the greatest names in blues, including his seven years with Muddy Waters.
Margolin's band for these sessions is a North Carolina duo every bluesman in earshot would be proud to claim. Tad Walters is a world class harpist/guitarist who has toured the world with both Margolin and the Big Bill Morganfield band, and has worked with John Dee Holeman for many years as a member of the Music Maker Foundation. In addition to his other talents, Walters is known for his uncanny Howlin' Wolf resurrection, slipping into character for “Smokestack Lightnin'” so completely that you can see Wolf trying to crawl out of Walters' skin. Chuck Cotton is the hardest hitting man in show bidness, an in-the-pocket, percussive craftsman who has backed a bevy of blues greats and now keeps the beat for the Greensboro, North Carolina-based House of Dues band.
“More and More” is one of the prettiest songs ever turned out by Margolin. The bluesman's mellow, soulful vocals, backed by his twangy, Muscle Shoals-worthy guitar swoops, give the tune a swamp pop flavor, different than anything Margolin has ever put in his catalog.
Another original, “Goodnight,” reveals a gentler side of Margolin -- a low key, country-flavored blues with just his mellow vocal and guitar chiming softly on the track.
The singer/guitarist takes a tongue-in-cheek look at his aging image on “Young and Old Blues.” He tells of a fan who hadn't seen him for a few years greeting him with him: “I didn't know you were still alive-you look like your own grandfather.” The song also has 20-year-old Margolin sitting in with 44-year-old B.B. King and finding it hard to believe a man so old could still play and sing. But by the chorus, Margolin has come to grips with his age and his image, musing that “how we look at young and old depends on which side you look from.”
Cotton drops out of the beat business for some close harmonizing on an a cappella makeover of Nappy Brown's doo-wop rendition of “Bye Bye Baby.” Its a complete do over, punctuated by finger snaps and some percussive harp huffing by Walters underneath Margolin and Cotton's soul/blues vocals.
Tex Rubinowitz's '79 rockabilly classic “Feelin Right Tonight” gets a low down blues makeover worthy of the Fabulous T- Birds with Margolin laying down twangy Jimmie Vaughan licks and Walters wailing like Kim Wilson.
Sean Costello's “Low Life Blues” gets bumped out of it's back alley Chicago groove and whipped up from Costello's languid lope into a stiff canter by Cotton's spurs. Walters keeps plenty of Chicago flavor in the mix with a liberal sprinkling of Little Walter juice while Margolin clanks out some industrial strength guitar as scaffolding.