ERIC BIBB

JERICHO ROAD

STONY PLAIN CD  SPCD  1370

DRINKIN’ GOURD–FREEDOM TRAIN–LET THE MOTHERS STEP UP–HAVE A HEART–THE RIGHT THING–DEATH ROW BLUES–CAN’T PLEASE EVERYONE–THE LORD’S WORK–WITH MY MAKER I AM ONE–THEY KNOW–SHE GOT MINE–GOOD LIKE YOU–ONE DAY AT A TIME (PLUS BONUS TRACKS, NOW and NANIBALI)

“Jericho Road,” the title of Eric Bibb’s fourth album for Stony Plain, is a Biblical reference to the road between Jerusalem and Jericho where the Good Samaritan stopped to aid a fallen traveler of a despised race whom others had scorned.  The songs herein, predominantly originals, encompass the many diverse influences that define Eric’s music, and include blues, gospel, world music, and soul.

Eric also uses theses songs to touch on several topical as well as historical subjects.  The struggles of slaves during Civil War times are documented in “Drinkin’ Gourd,” where they are encouraged to follow the Big Dipper and the North Star along the Underground Railroad to escape their oppression.  “Freedom Train” embodies the ideology of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, presented in this song as “the mighty engineer” of that vehicle.  “The Right Thing” compares the decay of society’s youth to a “foreign country in our own back yard,” while “You Can’t Please Everybody” follows a funky backbeat over Eric’s slide and Chuck Anthony’s wah-wah lines.  The softly-somber “They Know” tells us that every living creature knows a change in the world is coming, and coming soon.  The set closes with a trilogy of sorts.  “One Day At A Time” and the two bonus tracks, “Now” and “Nanibali” all offer hope for a better future.  The latter is sung in native tongue by a West African griot, Solo Cissokho, to promote world peace.

Three cuts stood out to us.  Linda Tillery and Tammi Brown add the female voices over Eric’s plea for “all brothers to put your weapons down and Let The Mothers Step Up.”  Two cuts explore Eric’s passion for the sounds of the Delta.  On “Death Row Blues,” Eric warns that, be you rich or poor, “when your time has come, you got to go.”  And, “after all is said and done, With My Maker I Am One” was our favorite, with exquisite resophonic and dobro interplay between Eric and Olli Haavisto.

The underlying theme of this album was to follow the example set by the Good Samaritan as well as Dr. King and save yourself by saving others.  The material in “Jericho Road” further reflects Eric Bibb’s global influences and solidifies him as one of the premier storytellers in contemporary blues!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow

 

 

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