Giles Robson review…September 20, 2019…..

GILES ROBSON

DON’T GIVE UP ON THE BLUES

AMERICAN SHOWPLACE MUSIC   ASM 7890

LAND TO LAND–DON’T GIVE UP ON THE BLUES–DAMN FOOL WAY–YOUR DIRTY LOOK AND YOUR SNEAKY GRIN–SHOW A LITTLE MERCY–BOOGIE AT THE SHOWPLACE–FEARLESS LEADERS–HEY HEY NOW–GILES THEME–LIFE WITH ALL IT’S CHARMS–THAT OL HEARTBREAK SOUND–WAY PAST MIDNIGHT

We have been excited about this release for some time now, since Tommy Z featured it on his Sunday nite blues show on WBFO.org (from 7-midnite EDT), a few weeks ago.  Giles Robson was the first European player to appear on an Alligator record, and his harp skills are nothing short of phenomenal.  His USA debut is courtesy of American Showplace Music, and is entitled “Don’t Give Up On The Blues.”  There are twelve all-original Giles tunes, a cool collection of boogies, topical tunes, and sweaty slow blues that’ll open your ears as to just how good a player he is.  Playing behind him is labelmate Bruce Katz on keys, Aaron Leiberman on guitar, Antar Goodwin on bass, and Ray Hangen on drums.

The set opens on a powerful note, with the speaker-blasting groove of “my true love, shout her name from Land To Land.”  Ray kicks off the stompin’ groove of our hero, who, due to his own “Damn Fool Way,” has his “mojo workin’, but it just won’t work on you.”  The band hits a Muddy/Walter/Chess groove on the foreboding, topical, “Fearless Leaders,” who’s “playin’ by the Devil’s rule,” and then a Junior Wells, South Side, let’s-go-to-Theresa’s vibe as he “conquers this city” on “Hey Hey Now!”

We had three favorites. The title cut, with Bruce on acoustic 88’s, sweats pure Chicago blues, as we learn, “Don’t Give Up On The Blues,” ’cause “the blues ain’t gon’ give up on you!”  If you dig slow blues, Giles has got ’em, thanks to a low-down lover and “Your Dirty Look And Your Sneaky Grin!”  The set closes with a sho’ nuff, straight-up tribute to Little Walter Jacobs with the blistering, slow-burnin’ instrumental, “Way Past Midnight,” featuring B-3 from Bruce.

It’s a great time to be a harp fan, given recent excellent sets from Corritore, Branch, Santini, Gruenling, and plenty more.  Giles Robson throws his hat into the ring with his chicken soup for a blues-lover’s soul, “Don’t Give Up On The Blues!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

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