Back Around Here CD Review
BluesArt Studio Magazine, Austria
by Brian Harman
Although Rob has not recorded an album in seven years, the intervening time has been well spent, ceaselessly performing on the road, improving his stage craft and honing his harp skills, to such an extent that on this, his new album, he plays with all the evident hunger and desire of a butchers' dog and sounds as comfortable and relaxed as a man in a rocking chair.
After providing some excellent harp blasting on former band members Chris James, guitar and Patrick Rynn; bass, latest album they have here retuned the favour to Rob. Joining them on the album is; David Maxwell and Aaron Moore; Piano, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith and Sam Lay; drums with Rodney Brown; tenor Saxophone and John Bowes; Baritone saxophone.
All twelve numbers have a warm, glowing forties and fifties Chicago atmosphere about them, they also have an engaging and irresistible swinging, shuffling pace about them. Robs vocals may not be his strong point but, when he is front of the microphone he exudes a charming vulnerability which carries you with him. His frequent blasting on Leroy Carr's “Sloppy Drunk Blues,” is superbly matched by some amazing and seriously swinging piano work from David Maxwell. In fact most of the numbers are harp and piano led goodtime dance tunes and the odd slowburner.
The sweet ringing mixture of guitar and bass happily bounces off the solid drum beat that also features some of the most nifty stick work that you will not have heard for quite some time. Cosseting all of this is a fat sounding rich, smooth chocolately horn section that alternates between sending ripples all the way down your spine and raising the hairs on the back of your neck.
Get your dancing shoes on!